Missouri Gov. Parson Signs Bill Prohibiting Public Institutions From Requiring Vaccine Passports

This past week Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed House Bill 271 into law, which enacts certain restrictions on government emergency health orders and bans vaccine passport requirements from many public sector institutions.

Under the new legislation, future health orders that restrict access to ordinary life such as schooling, business entry, church, etc. will be limited to 30 calendar days within a 180 day period of a declared state of emergency. Any extension beyond that must be preceded by a majority vote by the local government.

“This legislation I am signing today requires local leaders to be more transparent in their reasoning and accountable for their decisions when it comes to public health orders,” Parson said. “It also prohibits local, publicly funded entities from requiring a vaccine passport in order for residents to use public services, and while we encourage all Missourians to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it is not the government’s job to force them.”

The bill also prohibits any county or municipal governments that receive public funding from requiring any kind of proof of COVID-19 vaccination from citizens in order to use public services including transportation.

While Parson was emphatically clear in his beliefs that the government should not be able to exclude those who elect to not take the COVID-19 vaccine from public life, his position seemingly flips when asked about the same rules in regards to private corporations.

“If the private sector wants to do that, I’m fine with that,” Parson said to reporters in April. “As far as the state goes, we won’t mandate vaccine passports.”

Parson’s stance of allowing private corporations to control the medical privacy of citizen customers on the basis that they are not the government is indicative of a rift in the Republican Party, with fierce opponents on both sides of the argument. Much like Parson, certain Republicans like Arizona Governor Doug Ducey are largely okay with allowing the private sector to run unregulated, whereas many on the other side such as Florida Governor Ron Desantis argue the opposite.

Which branch of the party will come on top? It truly remains to be seen.