By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
A measure that would have prohibited discrimination against individuals for their vaccine status failed introduction Thursday morning in the Wyoming Senate on a tie vote of 15-15.
Senators rejected arguments by Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, that asking someone to prove they have been vaccinated is a violation of their privacy worthy of a felony conviction.
“The crux of this bill,” said Bouchard, the main sponsor of Senate File 88, “is you can’t ask a person, or inquire into a person’s vaccination status… It’s basically based on the privacy of healthcare; something that happens that’s deeply personal of your own, and it should stay private if you want it to be.”
The bill would have forbidden any employer, governmental entity or healthcare provider from refusing services, goods, advantages or privileges due to a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status.
“It does… provide for criminal and civil penalties,” added Bouchard.
Anyone in violation of the law, had it been passed, would have faced a minimum $5,000 fine, a maximum five years in prison, and a felony conviction.
Likewise, it would have become a felony for those entities to ask a person’s vaccination status as a prerequisite for receiving goods or opportunities.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, changed his vote from no to aye after the initial count was taken, causing the tie.
To win introduction as a non-budget bill during a legislative budget session, SF88 required approval from two-thirds of the Senate, or 20 members.
Opponents said later the bill was too broad.
“See the definitions of employer?” wrote State Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, in a statement to Cowboy State Daily. “With this bill, you can’t even ask whether a caregiver or babysitter or other worker in your home is vaccinated. Really? That is crazy and a violation of free association under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”