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AZ Gov Signs Bills Banning COVID Vaccine Requirement for Schools and Mask Mandates in Govt Buildings

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Arizona GOP Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation into law Friday that prevents health officials from mandating K-12 students get the COVID-19 vaccine to attend school.

Additionally, the governor signed H.B. 2453 that blocks officials from implementing face mask mandates in government buildings, including libraries and courthouses, the Arizona Republic reported.

The latter law makes an exception for facilities where “long-standing workplace infection control and safety measures that are unrelated to COVID-19” may require the wearing of face masks.

GOP state Rep. Joanne Osborne, chair of the state House Health and Human Services Committee, sponsored H.B. 2086, which prevents state health officials from requiring immunizations from COVID-19 or any variant of it for students to attend school.

Osborne said the decision whether a child received a COVID-19 vaccine should be with the parents, according to the Arizona Republic.

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Democratic state Sen. Christine Marsh called the bill “foolhardy,” saying its passage could result in the parents of immunocompromised children choosing not to send them to school.

“Please, please keep in mind all the medically fragile kids we have in this state,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that fully-vaccinated people still can get infected with COVID-19 and spread the virus, but the vaccine has been shown effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death.

Do you support these two bills concerning vaccines and mask mandates?

The vote for H.B. 2086 was along straight party-lines, with no Republican voting against it and no Democrat voting for it in the House or the Senate.

Critics of the bill have argued there is an existing process, including a public comment period, that must be followed before vaccines can be mandated by public health officials.

Further, parents can file for exemptions based on “personal beliefs.”

The Associated Press reported that Ducey signed legislation earlier this year preventing schools from requiring students to wear masks unless the parents approve.

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Another law previously enacted bars government entities from requiring employees to show proof of vaccination.

Both HB 2453 and HB 2086 will take effect 90 days after the current legislative session ends.

On Friday, Ducey also signed legislation requiring K-12 students to receive instruction concerning the Sept. 11 attacks.

“The events on September 11, 2001, shaped a generation and forever changed America,” Ducey said in a statement.

“The tragic events that unfolded that morning bound us together and altered how we view the world. We have an obligation to teach our children about the events and ideas that made us who we are as a nation,” the governor continued.

“On that day, we faced an attack on who we are and what we stand for: democracy, liberty and freedom. We’re going to ensure future generations of Arizonans never forget how those values were defended on September 11, 2001.”

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