by T.A. DeFeo
The Georgia Senate voted Tuesday to permanently block governments across the state from denying services to unvaccinated residents.
Senate Bill 1 removed a sunset provision in state law to make permanent a prohibition against state and local governments requiring residents to provide proof of a COVID vaccination to access government services.
“What you didn’t hear today is you didn’t hear an argument for the inverse of this bill,” state Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming, said to wrap up the debate. “…By voting no for this, you are not voting for, quote, public health. You are voting to allow government to deny a license to someone because they don’t have the COVID-19 vaccine.
“…The word radical was thrown out,” Dolezal added. “And I would say that, my friends, would be the radical position.”
In remarks on the floor, state Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain, said lawmakers “should take every precaution to protect the people of this state; not Democrats, not just Republicans, but all people of the state.”
“While the COVID pandemic has stabilized and seems to be waning thanks to the vaccine and other efforts, there is no guarantee that we won’t see a resurgence of it again,” Butler said. “…We should not politicize this. This is real, serious business. COVID-19 is no joke. We should do our due diligence, and we should do everything that we can to protect all of the people of the state.”
Senators voted 31-21 to advance the measure. The prohibition, which lawmakers put in place last year. was set to expire on June 30 unless lawmakers extended it.
“You would think of everything that we’ve talked about in here that the fate of the free world is going down because we’re striking one line in existing legislation. One line,” state Sen. Mike Dugan, R-Carrollton, said on the floor before the vote.
“So, your due diligence that we’re talking about, the due diligence was putting a sunset in it last year to make sure that we weren’t overstepping,” Dugan added. “That was your due diligence, to make sure that what we’re proposing, what we’re thinking, what scientists are telling us is real. It was.”
– – –
T.A. DeFeo is a contributor to The Center Square.