Thatcher bill calls for prohibition on ‘vaccine passports’


State Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, is seeking to cement a ban on “vaccine passports” with introduction of a new bill.

On Thursday, June 3, Thatcher introduced Senate Bill 872. The bill would prohibit public and private entities from denying services based on COVID-19 vaccination status.

Thatcher called Gov. Kate Brown’s guidelines that require businesses to check customer’s vaccination status a “scheme,” in a press release.

“No Oregonian should have to divulge medical information to participate in everyday life. This bill is about making clear Oregonians’ rights, which have been railroaded by the Governor during the pandemic,” Thatcher said.

Thatcher included results from a survey conducted by the Medford Chamber of Commerce and an out-of-context statement from a union group as evidence of support for the new bill.

“A spokesperson for UFCW Local 555, which represents grocery store workers, said, “Telling essential employees to be the mask police and asking customers for their medical information puts them in harm’s way…,” the press release states.

The full statement, which appeared in The Oregonian continued, “and is insulting after months of ignoring the needs and safety of the people who put food on our tables. Oregon’s essential employees deserve better than they are getting from their government.”

On Friday, June 4, Brown announced that state officials will lift most pandemic-related restrictions and fully reopen the economy after 70% of state residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.

“It will remain incredibly important for Oregonians to continue making smart choices,” said Brown in a press release. “This has really become a tale of two pandemics. If you are vaccinated, then you’re safe, you can carry on safely without wearing a mask and social distancing. If you are not vaccinated, this virus still poses a very real threat.”

More than 100,00 state residents still need to receive their first dose of the vaccine before Brown’s plan to ease restrictions is triggered.

Thatcher’s bill contesting mandates for people to have their vaccine status checked had its first reading Monday, June 7, and was referred to the desk of Senate President Peter Courtney for further consideration.