COLUMBUS – Standing up for the medical freedoms of Ohioans, the Ohio House of Representatives today approved a medical freedom bill that protects workers and students from vaccine mandates.
“Ohio medical decisions will not be held hostage by special interest groups,” said Cutrona.
The measure, sponsored by State Representative Al Cutrona (R-Canfield), is known as the Ohio Medical Freedom Plan. It is the result of hearings, debate and deliberation that have taken place at the Statehouse and in communities across Ohio, he said.
“COVID-19 vaccines, and specifically vaccine mandates and vaccine passports, have consistently been a top concern of the people of the Mahoning Valley and across America,” said Cutrona, who has been actively involved in medical freedom issues at the Statehouse, working to protect the rights of Ohioans.
Cutrona said a cornerstone of the bill is addressing the issue of vaccine mandates. The bill gives Ohioans facing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate the ability to assert an exemption for medical reasons, natural immunity as demonstrated by the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, and reasons of personal conscience including religious convictions.
Those same exemptions would also be available for students and employees at Ohio’s public and private schools, colleges and universities.
Cutrona emphasized the bill makes clear that students and employees seeking an exemption need only provide a written statement claiming it.
The bill also allows for a student or employee to seek relief in the event of a violation, including going to court or filing an employment discrimination claim.
Additionally, the bill bans “vaccine passport” requirements from being imposed for entry into a public building or private business.
The bill also prohibits public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities from discriminating against a student based on their vaccination status while in a school setting or on school property.
Other elements of the bill include:
- Employees of a children’s hospital, an intensive care or critical care unit of a hospital, would not be able to receive a vaccine exemption, under the bill. However, a hospital must make a good faith attempt to provide equitable employment to an individual who refuses to get a vaccine.
- Schools and employers would be prohibited from requiring a student or employee to receive a vaccine if it has not been issued a biologics license or otherwise been granted full approval by the FDA.
- Extends through June 2023 provisions from House Bill 606 (133rd General Assembly) that would protect employers from COVID-19 liability under certain circumstances.
- Other provisions sunset on September 30, 2025
House Bill 218 will now head to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.