A planned amendment to the bill would require that contractors and employees who are eligible for religious or medical exemptions be tested regularly. The bill would require that new employees receive at least one dose when they begin work, and the second within 45 days.
Buffy Wicks, an Assemblywoman, introduced her billmonths following delays that delayed the original proposal last autumn. Her previous proposal would have allowed workers the option of weekly testing to get vaccinated. However, that option is no longer available in her current proposal.
The mandates for vaccines are controversial. There have been numerous protests at Sacramento's state Capitol against such mandates.
Wicks and others supported the mandate, saying it is necessary even as California moves to relax other requirements . California anticipates moving into an "endemic" phase which accepts that the coronavirus will be around for the foreseeable future but can be managed as immunity increases.
She stated, "That's fundamentally the purpose of this bill." "Getting back to some normalcy so that we can continue with our lives and not have these constant interruptions, outbreaks, and all these other things that we've experienced for so many years."
Unless the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decides COVID-19 vaccines are not necessary, the mandate will remain in effect.
The bill would require that state health and occupational safety officials advise employers about what constitutes a valid vaccination status, such as whether it is a disability, medical condition, or religious belief. Companies that fail to comply with the bill would be subject to penalties yet to be determined.
James Gallagher, Assembly Republican Leader, stated that he has been vaccinated and encourages others to do the same.
Gallagher stated, "But telling people that they can't feed themselves or their families unless they get the vaccine it just wrong." "I trust Californians enough that I treat them as adults capable of making their own decisions about their health care. It is unfortunate that not all Democrats are in agreement.
Jonathan Keller, the president of California Family Council, expressed similar concerns about the proposal. He stated that "Government shouldn't force employers to fire employees over personal medical decisions."
Democratic governor. Gavin Newsom ordered that all of the state’s roughly 2.2million health care workers be vaccinated last year. Or they would lose their jobs.
He also demanded that teachers and state workers be vaccinated. California schoolchildren must also be vaccinated by summer in order to attend in-person classes.
Wicks' proposal is only one of many far-reaching measures that Democratic state legislators have introduced this year.
Sen. Scott Wiener, for example, would allow children 12 years and older to get vaccinated with their parents' consent. Sen. Richard Pan, on the other hand, would remove a personal belief exemption from school-based COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
Pan supported Wicks' bill by arguing that "having safe workplaces is essential for... keeping our economy running."
He said that people shouldn't be afraid of being infected at work or when visiting businesses. Businesses can't withstand frequent outbreaks that leave their employees without compensation.
Jim Araby, director of strategic campaigns for the union, stated that more than 2,000 members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 in San Francisco Bay have fallen ill and some have even died from the coronavirus.
He said that Wicks' bill was similar to asking a construction worker not to wear a hardhat to work on a job site.
California Chamber of Commerce and California Restaurant Association, California Retailers Association, California Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and California chapter of California Federation of Independent Businesses didn't immediately comment on the bill.
The bill is supported by the Small Business Majority advocacy organization, which has nearly 20,000 members in California.
John Arensmeyer is the group's chief executive. He stated that small businesses do not want to be traffic cops in public safety debates. They are looking for a common statewide standard to disentangle them from politics and allow them to run their businesses safely and predictably.