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House votes to ban government-issued or approved “COVID passport”

A picture taken in Paris shows a vaccine vial reading "Covid-19 vaccine" on an European passport.
The state House voted to preempt the state, local governments, school districts and public universities from creating COVID-19 “passports” for people to prove they’re vaccinated.

The state, local governments and school districts could not require people to show proof they’ve been vaccinated under a bill approved Wednesday by the state House, although the bill seems unlikely to become law.

The legislation says public entities cannot refuse to serve people based on their vaccine status. And it says the state cannot create or adopt a vaccine “passport” for people to prove they’ve been vaccinated.

Representative Susan Allor (R-Wolverine) is the sponsor. She says COVID passports are an active controversy in the US and around the world as COVID restrictions are lifted.

“We can see this is not an absurd idea or a far-away issue,” she said.

The bill would preempt state agencies, local governments, school districts and public universities from create or adopt COVID-19 “passports.”

But Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday dismissed the bill as a waste of time.

“The Legislature has a tendency to spend a lot of time and taxpayer money on things that aren’t really being debated,” she said. “There’s not ever been a conversation around requiring vaccine passports.”

A handful of Democrats joined with House GOP lawmakers to support the bill.

The bill’s next stop is the Republican-controlled state Senate, where Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) has spoken out against vaccine “shaming.”

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.