LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers on Friday rejected legislation that would have prevented businesses from requiring employees to say whether they've been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The majority-Republican House voted 41-46 in favor of the Senate-backed bill, which would have created a "right of privacy" for employees and contractors regarding their vaccination status. The proposal would allow employees to sue under the state's civil rights law for any violations.
The proposal is among several limiting or prohibiting employer vaccine requirements that have dominated a session that was intended to focus on congressional redistricting. The proposals have primarily been in response to President Joe Biden's order that businesses with more than 100 employees must require vaccinations or weekly testing.
Opponents said the proposal would force businesses to choose between exposing themselves to lawsuits by workers or face federal fines for not complying with Biden's order. They also said it would have jeopardized Medicaid and Medicare funding for health care facilities throughout the state.