Vaccine Choice Bill Undergoing Changes

The Vaccine Choice bill that attracted nationwide attention on social media earlier this month and was once headed for approval by the Ohio House Health Committee is taking a step back for retooling.

The proposal, HB 248, would make it illegal for an employer to force employees to be vaccinated and would also make it illegal for the employer to disclose an employee’s vaccination status.

The bill was originally scheduled to pass out of the Ohio House Health Committee Tuesday, but instead it was set for additional changes.

It followed testimony two weeks ago that drew national attention when two backers of the bill claimed the COVID-19 vaccine had magnetic powers.

One woman attempted to demonstrate that a key would cling to her skin. “Explain to me why this key sticks to me,” said Joanna Overholt, a supporter of the bill.

Another supporter, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, said it appeared the magnetic properties of the vaccine are related to the 5G cell phone towers.

Those claims brought a flood of criticism from the medical community and several doctors representing statewide organizations testified against the bill the following week.

Rep. Phil Plummer, R-Dayton, a member of the Health Committee told WHIO-TV that as it stands now he is a no vote.

“We need to do more work on this. This hasn’t been a good process. There’s disinformation campaigns out there. A lot of pressure, political pressure. We need to call a timeout and re-group and really, really dig down to some common sense legislation here,” Plummer said.

One of the members of the business community whose testimony played a part in the committee tapping the brakes on the bill is former State Representative Ross McGregor of Springfield.

He told the committee Tuesday that as a business owner he is responsible for what happens in his facility and he would like to mandate that his employees are fully vaccinated. He hasn’t done it yet, but wants to do it.

“There are conditions that I want to set and I want to do it,” McGregor said.

Still, there are supporters of the bill who wish the committee would move forward with it to protect people’s privacy and ability to control their own health decisions.

“I think the law should protect the people’s right to make choices for what they have to take, if it’s going to affect their health, ’' said David Pack of Spring Valley.Committee Chairman, Rep.

Scott Lipps, R- Franklin, said more work needs to be done on the bill to add focus.

“Sometimes legislation requires small bites and this was a great big bite,” Lipps said.