(Nov. 12, 2021) – The Special Committee on Government Overreach and COVID-19 Mandates, chaired by Senator Renee Erickson (R-Wichita), met today to discuss two possible bills. The committee heard from proponents, opponents and neutral conferees on two legislative proposals.
The committee discussed Rs2356, which provides for exceptions for religious/medical objections to vaccination and further defines the process of requesting the exceptions. It provides a civil course of action through district courts. Attorneys fees are awarded to those employees with grievances if they prevail.
The committee amended the proposal by making the following changes:
- Deleting advanced practice registered nurses' ability to provide medical exemptions but broadened language to be able to include that practice under delegation of authority.
- Limiting any punitive action including dismissal, demotion, transfer, reassignment, suspension, reprimand, warning of possible dismissal or withholding of work hours by employers by employees seeking medical or religious exemptions.
The committee also held a hearing on Rs2357, which allows those terminated because of refusal to meet a vaccine mandate to access unemployment benefits. The bill also allows those currently on unemployment insurance to refuse to accept otherwise suitable work if the employer requires the vaccine mandate as a condition of employment. The committee made no changes to the proposal.
The committee also discussed Rs2384, which would authorize a civil action for damages caused by an adverse reaction or injury related to a COVID-19 vaccine. The bill will be discussed during the upcoming special session.