RALEIGH – Among the daily torrent of headlines on Monday was news of Florida’s governor lifting all COVID-related emergency orders. Just days ago, he signed legislation passed by the Republican state legislature banning vaccine passports. Both moves in the right direction and to the benefit of Floridians.
Here in North Carolina, we also have a Republican majority in the legislature. We also have legislation filed to prohibit vaccine passports, coercive vaccine policies, or outright vaccine mandates by state agencies, institutions, and businesses. However, House Bill 558 has been languishing in a House health committee for weeks. Committee chairs simply will not bring the bill up for consideration, even though it was referred to the committee on April 15.
It is not unusual for a bill that is not blessed by leadership, or legislation cutting against particular interests of strong lobbies, to be initially voted in the House or Senate, and then referred to committee to die a slow death. This appears to be the case with House Bill 558, according to the bill sponsors.
That has raised the ire of supporters of the bill, those interested in codifying liberty protections against the scourge of totalitarian policy impulses tied directly to Pandemic Panic. They want to know why Republican lawmakers, ostensibly interested in reining in Big Government and the authoritarianism of the Woke Panic Mongers on the Left, won’t even give the bill a hearing.
A protest and public lobbying event is planned to share those concerns with lawmakers during a legislative day of action Tuesday, May 4, from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM at the N.C. General Assembly. The committee in question meets at 10:00 AM in Room 643 of the adjacent Legislative Office Building, but it doesn’t appear they will be bring the bill up for a debate or vote.
Exactly why that is will be critical to whether or not Republican leaders will allow the ban on forced vaccines an vaccine passports any sign of life whatsoever. Sources indicate the impediment has to do with the legislation placing a burden on businesses, barring them from discriminating against vaccine status for employment purposes or public accommodations. Reportedly, amendments were offered to address this concern, but so far no action is being taken to even consider them.
The powers that be are obviously going to exert control over the flow and content of legislation through committees; that is nothing new. But how they treat particular legislation says a lot about priorities.
The House Health Committee, like all committees, is, after all, specifically set up to deliberate, debate, amend, and vote on whether or not to return legislation to the chamber in original or amended form. Even controversial bills, and especially those of considerable public interest, are afforded this deliberative approval or disapproval process.
Hardly is there a more pressing issue to the public in general and the liberty-minded specifically. Pandemic Panic Policies of the last year have demonstrated an authoritarian trend that is manifesting in real time in the form of vaccine passports, op-eds calling for the shunning of the ‘vaccine-resisters,’ and a building, progressively coercive campaign to reach 100 percent vaccination. It stands to create a two-tiered society based upon vaccination status; a reality that is anathema to peace and tranquility.
And so when legislation that is aimed squarely at guarding against this, filed in a Republican legislature, is not even granted a calendar date grassroots voters are left to assume it’s because the leadership simply does not prioritize such protections for North Carolina citizens. All the while, regional neighbor states with Republican legislatures are moving resolutely to push back against this onslaught.
Hence, the protest planned tomorrow.
Perhaps, with enough noise and/or considered constituent feedback, committee chairs will bring the bill up for discussion. Ideas on how to address employer concerns abound, and any lawmaker is free to offer amendments. Absolving employers of yet more discrimination burdens can be accomplished without standing in the way of banning COVID vaccine mandates for schools, or vaccine passports, or ensuring government cannot label and discriminate against COVID-19 vaccine status.
Every moment of inaction by Republican leadership on these protections is being regarded by grassroots voters as an active effort to stifle them, and thus enable further abuses of Pandemic Panic in state already plagued with an overzealous governor. That is, until proven otherwise.