By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
The final bill of 20 submitted for consideration during the Legislature’s special session, this one banning most public entities from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate, won final approval Wednesday as the Wyoming’s House and Senate agreed to a compromise on the measure.
Representatives and senators agreed to adopt the compromise to HB1002 adopted by a joint conference committee Wednesday afternoon to send the measure to the desk of Gov. Mark Gordon.
Discussion on the bill was brief in both chambers of the Legislature as members approved the compromise reached by the committee, in essence ending the session that began on Oct. 26.
The bill as approved would prohibit state and local government entities from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate proposed by the administration of President Joe Biden. Biden’s proposal would require vaccinations for federal employees, health care workers and employees of companies that employ more than 100.
A bill prohibiting employers from making coronavirus vaccination a condition of employment died in the Senate earlier in the day.
As approved, HB1002 would prevent state and local government entities from enforcing any such mandate, however, the bill was amended to exempt any public entity that could lose federal funds by refusing to enforce a mandate.
The bill also specified that if a court issues a stay of the federal mandate, Wyoming’s rules would take effect. It would also set aside $4 million for the state to assist in lawsuits filed by those who are injured by any mandate.
The federal rules putting the mandate into effect have not been drafted.
The bill was the last to survive the special session, called by the Legislature to chart Wyoming’s response to the federal mandate. Prior to the session, 20 bills had been filed with both the House and Senate for consideration.