HARRISBURG – Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette/Westmoreland) joined a majority in the state House Wednesday to approve legislation that aims to protect the personal liberties of all Pennsylvanians.
Senate Bill 618 would prohibit use of so-called “vaccine passports” and set limits on the authority of the unelected secretary of Health under the state’s Disease Prevention and Control Act.
“This is not a question about whether you think the vaccine is safe or not,” Warner said during debate in the House chamber. “It’s a question about whether you believe in personal liberty. It’s a question of whether or not you believe that unelected bureaucrats should have the unabated power to shut down government entities without any input from the elected representatives of this Commonwealth. It’s a question of whether you believe in the values of this republic, of democracy.”
Specifically, the bill would prohibit school districts, institutions of higher education and other government entities from requiring proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to use the service, enter a building or undertake an activity. Institutions of higher education would include a post-secondary institution that receives state funds, including funds from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).
The bill also would prohibit the expenditure of tax dollars to create an electronic vaccine tracking system.
Finally, the bill would rein in the authority of the secretary of Health, prohibiting the secretary from ordering the closure of a business or other entity or requiring an individual who has not been exposed or potentially exposed to a contagious disease to physically distance from others, wear a face covering, conduct a specific hygiene practice, shelter in place, quarantine or isolate from other individuals or restrict travel.
The bill now returns to the Senate for further consideration.
Representative Ryan Warner
52nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives