Rep. Walsh introduces bill prohibiting ‘vaccine passports’ in Washington
A state lawmaker has introduced a bill to ban COVID-19 vaccine status from being used to keep Washington residents out of public places.
Representative Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) says he believes so-called “vaccine passports” are a violation of citizens’ civil and constitutional rights.
“I’m hearing from hundreds of Washingtonians every week worried about state bureaucrats demanding proof of having taken a COVID vaccine as a condition of travel or just being present in a public place,” Walsh said. “Such demands would be a violation of citizens’ civil and constitutional rights in this state. We can’t wait for courts to issue opinions on these matters. We need to clarify state law as quickly as possible.”
Walsh says House Bill 1570 addresses an issue of growing urgency and comes at the request of dozens of his constituents. The bill has been co-sponsored by 20 other state lawmakers.
Since the bill is being introduced so late in the session, which is scheduled to end April 25, it likely won’t be passed this year. Walsh said he plans to gather support for the proposal during the interim, and reintroduce it next legislative session.
To help improve its chances of passing, Walsh says the language is simple, direct, and short.
“I’ve used key language from existing Washington law, so the structure and concepts should be familiar to my legislative colleagues. Best of all, the bill is only two pages long. You don’t need to be a senior partner in a Seattle law firm to understand it,” Walsh said. “We’ve let so many of our foundational rights be eroded over the last year-plus. We need to get back to protecting those essential values. House Bill 1570 helps us do that.”
KIRO Radio reports that Gov. Jay Inslee has indicated vaccine passports are not likely at this point.
The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.