West Virginia lawmaker Craig Blair compares the federal COVID-19 vaccine rule to Nazi Germany – CBS Pittsburgh
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – The West Virginia Senate president likened the U.S. government’s COVID-19 corporate vaccine ordinance to Nazi Germany when the Republican-controlled Senate narrowly passed a bill on Tuesday to restrict employers in their ability to demand workers that they were vaccinated against the virus.
The proposal, which would allow certain medical and religious exemptions from the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates, was passed after more than two hours of debate between 17 and 16 years old. A senator was missing. The draft law now has to be compared with a version previously approved by the House of Delegates.
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A separate attempt to make the bill effective after it was passed failed in the Senate.
Republican Governor Jim Justice added the bill to the special session of the Legislature last week.
As part of the bill, a doctor or nurse may provide signed proof that the employee is in a physical condition that prevents them from safely receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or that the employee has recovered from COVID-19 and can show that he has antibodies against the virus. The employee can also provide his employer with a notarized certificate of religious exemption.
The bill affects businesses and government agencies. Employers would be prevented from punishing or discriminating current or potential employees for using the exemptions.
Senate President Craig Blair spoke out in favor of the bill, saying he was fully vaccinated against the virus and encouraging others to get their shots too, but it should be a personal choice.
Blair turned his attention to the federal government‘s upcoming vaccine ordinance, which will affect millions of Americans in companies with 100 or more employees, and said, “Honestly, I think this goes back to Nazi Germany.
“Our federal government is using federal funds to force the citizens of this country to obey the state. Ladies and gentlemen, whether for or against us, that is a problem. “
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The comment was immediately reprimanded by Mike Pushkin, a Jewish Democrat in the House of Delegates.
Blair “just compared the requirements for vaccination work in the Senate with ‘Nazi Germany’. His statements are not only irresponsible and insulting, they are downright stupid, ”wrote Pushkin on Twitter. “He has just played down the murder of millions while minimizing the deaths of hundreds of thousands” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Several doctors who are senators argued against the bill. Marshall County’s Republican radiologist Mike Maroney called it “the biggest piece of junk I’ve ever seen.”
Kanawha County’s Republican Tom Takubo, a pulmonologist, said the state government shouldn’t tell companies how to run their businesses. He also said that nurses and doctors have patients with compromised immune systems.
“Freedom only goes so far as long as it doesn’t bleed on the freedom of others,” said Takubo. “When you’ve done that, I won’t call it freedom anymore.”
Dozens of companies, including hospitals, banks, and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, have notified lawmakers that they are firmly against the law.
West Virginia University’s health system, the state’s largest private employer, requires its 20,000+ employees to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by October 31, according to Covid-19 vaccine documentation.
In West Virginia, more than 4,100 people have died from the virus since the pandemic began.
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