Illinois bill would outlaw discrimination against unvaccinated people

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Doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine wait to be administered to the students and faculty of UTPB during a vaccination clinic held in partnership with Midland Memorial Hospital, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, in Odessa, Texas. (Eli Hartman/Odessa American via AP)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Newly proposed legislation in Illinois would make it illegal to discriminate against anyone who chooses not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

The bill, filed by Rep. Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich), would prevent any person, public official, or workplace from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone who chooses not to get it.

“The Freedom Act” would also allow a person to file a lawsuit if they feel their religious rights have been violated.

Niemberg said the legislation is necessary to curb a government he said is “using the pandemic as an excuse to strip away Americans of their rights.”

“Public health should not be an excuse to take away our freedoms and liberties. We should take steps to promote public health,  but we must do so in the context of our rights as Americans,” he said.

The Republican lawmaker said he drafted the legislation in response to a bill filed last week by Democrat Rep. Jonathan Carrol (Buffalo Grove),  which would amend the Illinois Insurance Code so that anyone who chooses not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine would have to pay their health care expenses out of pocket if they seek medical treatment.

“I think it’s time that we say ‘You choose not to get vaccinated, then you’re also going to assume the risk that if you do catch COVID, and you get sick, the responsibility is on you,’” Carroll said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

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