Republican lawmakers want to ban vaccine certificates, prevent businesses from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccine

NOW: Republican lawmakers want to ban vaccine certificates, prevent businesses from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccine

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- As we inch closer to a post-pandemic world, Republican lawmakers are seeking to ban so-called vaccine passports to prevent businesses and state government from requiring proof of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The Biden administration is exploring the idea of vaccine passports as a way to show a certificate that confirms you no longer pose a risk to others.

A series of Republican bills would ban the concept in Wisconsin to require a vaccine certificate to enter a business, state building or attend a sporting event. 

“These are really personal decisions people need to make for themselves and they don’t need the government telling them they have to do ‘X’ to attend a Packer game,” said Rep. Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva).

Right now, there are no efforts in the state to implement a vaccine passport. Israel debuted them to allow vaccinated people to attend concerts and other events many took part in pre-pandemic. 

The GOP proposals would prevent companies, businesses and the Evers administration from mandating proof of a vaccine to enter a building or venue. 

Democrats called the bills premature and believe it could discourage Wisconsinites from getting vaccinated. 

“Republicans have been sending us in the wrong direction and I think it is really concerning and alarming that the politics of the vaccine are coming before the health and safety of the people,” said Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison). 

Republicans who introduced the series of proposals argue it’s not about casting doubts on vaccines, instead they want to protect individual rights. 

“What’s not appropriate is for a private business or government to demand a health record from someone just to go about their daily lives,” said August. 

Vern Stenman, president of Big Top Sports & Entertainment, who oversees the Madison Mallards, Forward Madison and the Kenosha KingFish, doesn’t oppose the idea of showing proof of a vaccine and hopes it eases anxiety around attending sporting events. 

“The biggest concern we have is what the consumer mindset will be, are they going to be ready to return,” said Stenman. “We think the more universal the rules are, the better, and maybe at the end of the day it will incentivize some to get out and get vaccinated.”

This is not the first attempt by Republicans to pass legislation to implement rules regarding vaccinations. This year they've sent bills to Governor Evers' desk to prohibit employers and state health officials from mandating vaccines. Evers vetoed the proposals. 

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