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House committee pushes ahead plan to block COVID-19 vaccine mandates

House Education Committee
Sarah Gibson
Hundreds of people attended a meeting of the house education committee on Tuesday to voice their opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Lawmakers approved a proposal Tuesday to block COVID-19 vaccine mandates by banning entities -- including non-profit groups, private and public schools, and government agencies -- from requiring the COVID vaccine.

State laws like this have limited power in fighting federal vaccine requirements. But Republican state Rep. Rick Ladd, who sponsored the proposal in the form of an amendment to a pending bill, said the state nonetheless needed to fight federal mandates – including a recent requirement by the Biden Administration that large employees ensure their employees are vaccinated or have them tested regularly.

“This unnecessary mandate is a direct assault on state powers, imposes new burdens on employers when they can least afford it, and makes daily life much more difficult for the unvaccinated and their families,” Ladd said.

Theamendment approved Tuesday would allow anyone to object to the vaccine for medical reasons, religious beliefs or "any reason of personal conscience."

Prior to the house education committee's vote, house speaker Rep. Sherman Packard removed Republican Rep. James Allard from the house education committee. Allard had expressed reservations about the amendment.

It will go before the full New Hampshire House early next year.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.
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