WY Legislature Defeats Business Vaccine Discrimination Bill

Wyoming state senators on Friday (October 29th) voted down the last special legislative session bill they had written to counter President Joe Biden’s plans to require COVID-19 vaccinations, one that would have prohibited discrimination against business customers and others based on their vaccination status.

The special session begun Tuesday (October 26th) in response to the federal plans will continue Monday, however, when senators plan to take up a House bill to bar employers from considering vaccination status in hiring decisions.

The measure cleared the House 38-20 on Friday.

The Senate will also consider a bill that would give Gov. Mark Gordon’s office $1 million to fight the Biden administration vaccine requirements for certain federal, health care and other private-sector employees, and prohibit enforcement of the requirements in Wyoming.

That bill passed the House 41-14 on Friday.

With no more legislation related to COVID-19 immediately left to consider, the House adjourned until Wednesday.

Gordon announced Friday that Wyoming will join nine other Republican-led states in litigation to fight a vaccine requirement for federal contractors.

“We are committed to defend the interests of Wyoming’s people and protect them from further federal intrusion into our lives,” Gordon said in a statement.

Gordon has expressed wariness, though, about fighting federal mandates with state ones.

Similar concerns Friday killed the only remaining COVID-19-related bill originating in the Senate, on a 15-13 vote.

Lawmakers worried that prohibiting discrimination based on a person’s vaccination status would have unforeseen and unintended consequences for businesses.

“We now have a bill in front of us that has zero impact on the president, it has zero impact on his mandates, zero impact on his overreach. But it has a huge impact on Wyoming businesses. We are about to create another protected class,” said Sen. Dave Kinskey, R-Sheridan.

The bill would open the way for “still more ways to sue” businesses, Kinskey added, calling it “a lawyer’s field day.”

Lawmakers aren’t fully aware of how the bill could play out, said Sen. Brian Boner, R-Douglas.

“I think we need a sledgehammer. This is a wrecking ball. A wrecking ball we don’t exactly know where exactly it’s going to hit,” Boner said.

Supporters included Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle, who said the bill is indeed “about discrimination.”

“You’re not going to be a criminal if you treat people fairly, and I think most businesses in Wyoming already do that,” Steinmetz said.

The session’s scope was much reduced from its outset earlier in the week, when lawmakers were set to consider 20 bills — 40 counting mirror versions in the opposite chamber.

Legislative leaders have sought to keep the special session focused and allowed only a handful to proceed, however.

The special session’s tenor hasn’t always been always cordial.



4 Comments

  1. …considering the US Supreme Court decision last Friday in which the US supreme court justices declined to block the state of Maine’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers with religious objections so it appears this special session was a big waste of taxpayer money…the whole basis for this special session was misguided from the beginning

  2. So what is Kinskeys plan to have an impact on the president, his mandates, and his over reach? File a lawsuit against him and his administration? Good luck with that.

  3. Thomas…you are as misguided as the rest…a while back in this media comment section you called Covid “a bio weapon”…since you stated as such consider that all elected officials both state and federal take an oath to protect their citizens from all enemies foreign and domestic…this virus mandate should be embraced not rejected because it is undeniable what damage (in many different ways) the virus and this pandemic has caused to our state, the United States and the world…it should be considered a patriotic duty to slow the spread in any way possible personally and politically…the legislature should be embracing every tool available (like a vaccine mandate for prime example) not fighting this mandate…the idea of requiring our elected representatives to travel collectively to Laramie county with the highest infection rate is as misguided as the intended reason for the legislature to convene to oppose a vaccine mandate…we can debate federal law superseding state law all day but the real issue should be what is the best way to protect our citizens in any way possible that stops or slows the spread of the Covid virus and its damage associated to society

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