Last week, Kentucky suffered from more COVID-related deaths than any other point this year.
Now two Republican (and Christian) lawmakers want to make sure the virus keeps spreading.
State Reps. Savannah Maddox and Mark Hart introduced a bill yesterday, 21 RS BR 301, that would block the state from requiring people to get vaccinated. Or as they put it, they’re “ensuring basic liberties regarding immunizations.”
As it stands, Kentucky law permits parents to reject vaccinations for their kids only for health and/or religious reasons. But the law also includes this passage:
Provided, however, that in the event of an epidemic in a given area, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services may, by emergency regulation, require the immunization of all persons within the area of epidemic, against the disease responsible for such epidemic.
There you go: If there’s an epidemic, the government can require everyone to receive a vaccination against it.
Well, we’re in a pandemic. We’re hoping for a vaccine. And if a safe one comes out, you better hope the government makes everyone get it (with the usual exceptions for health) since that’s the only way we can return to the Before Times.
But Maddox and Hart want to remove that passage entirely and replace it with this one, explicitly forbidding the government from requiring vaccinations:
Further, nothing contained in KRS 158.035, 194A.025, 214.010, 214.020, 214.032 to 214.036, 214.990, or KRS Chapter 211, shall be construed to permit the Cabinet for Health and Family Services or any other agent or instrumentality of the Commonwealth of Kentucky to require the immunization of any person.
It’s an anti-science bill that would only serve to keep the virus alive and spreading, while the people of Kentucky suffer. These anti-vaxxer lawmakers care more about the life of the virus than the lives of citizens.
Maddox, by the way, has been linked to white supremacists (she denies any association) and has been actively calling for the re-opening of public schools despite the very real threat of the virus. She’s known for pushing right-wing extremism.
Hart opposed face mask mandates earlier this summer while laughably proclaiming, “I take public health very seriously.” (Sure, buddy. Sure.)
They also filed this bill as an “emergency” — meaning that if it gets signed into law, it would go into effect immediately. While the governor is a Democrat, Andy Beshear, Republicans hold a veto-proof supermajority in the legislature. So this bill can’t be ignored.
The only question is how badly Republicans want to see their own constituents die due to the lawmakers’ scientific ignorance and deference to conspiracy theorists.
(Thanks to Dan for the link)