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.
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.
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.
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.”
🖊️Now on to Gov @DougDucey to sign into law
💉HB 2086 Covid vax not req’d to attend k12 schools (16R votes)
😷HB 2453 Gov’t entities may not impose masking (16R votes)
— Mommy Lobby (@MommyLobbyAZ) May 17, 2022
The Associated Press reported that Ducey signed legislation earlier this year preventing schools from requiring students to wear masks unless the parents approve.
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.
The events on September 11, 2001 shaped a generation and forever changed America. We’re going to ensure future generations of Arizonans never forget how our nation’s values were defended on that fateful day. https://t.co/cWeRDFOFjf
— Doug Ducey (@DougDucey) May 20, 2022
“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.”