State House vax passport rule to be decided

By Guy Page

Vermont House and Senate rules committees will decide Tuesday whether to require Covid-19 vaccine passports or testing for lawmakers and legislative staff seeking to enter the State House.

There will be a Senate Rules Committee Meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday. It can be viewed on the committee’s YouTube channel.

As proposed, the policy also would require everyone in the State House — including lawmakers, staff, lobbyists, interested citizens, tourists, and employees of the other two branches of government — to wear masks. It strongly recommends vaccination and testing for all entrants, but requires it only of legislators and their staff.

Michael Bielawski/TNR

The Vermont Statehouse

If the recommendation adopted last week is approved with change this week, State House leaders must then determine how to deal with lawmakers and staff who refuse to show proof of vaccination or submit to testing. The likely solution for recalcitrant staff is straightforward – submit or face disciplinary action, including possible termination.

The Vermont Constitution offers a terse explanation of when and how the State House may be closed (Chpt. II, Article 8): “The doors of the House in which the General Assembly of this Commonwealth shall sit, shall be open for the admission of all persons who behave decently, except only when the welfare of the State may require them to be shut.”

During the pandemic-related State of Emergency, the State House was closed to all but a skeleton crew of legislators and staff.

Barring constitutionally-elected lawmakers from the State House is legally complex. Lawmakers are answerable to the voters every two years. They don’t “work for” their legislative leaders, who are elected by their consent. The Constitution, however, does provide for barring lawmakers from the General Assembly (Chpt. II, Article 14): “they [the House and Senate] may expel members, but not for causes known to their constituents antecedent to their election.”

Whether barring Constitutionally-elected lawmakers from entering the building for refusing to obey a newly-established legislative rule qualifies under this clause, or any other clause, of the Vermont Constitution is a question for that could ultimately be decided in court.

The Constitution does limit legislative powers (Chpt. II, Article 6): “they [the House and Senate] shall have no power to add to, alter, abolish, or infringe any part of this Constitution.”

The 2022 Legislature convenes 10 AM, January 4. The proposed rules, if enacted, would take effect Jan. 3.

As reported Dec. 16, the two committees will act on a recommendation made by the Joint Rules Committee.

Under a draft approved Wednesday by the Vermont Legislative Joint Rules Committee, lawmakers and legislative staff will not be allowed into the State House unless they demonstrate proof of vaccination or submit to a PCR test.

The draft reads that all legislators and legislative staff “shall either…: (i) demonstrate fully protected vaccination against COVID-19; or (ii) on a weekly basis provide proof of a negative NAAT1 COVID-19 test.”

All members of the public will be “strongly recommended” to:

“(A) provide proof of fully protected vaccination against COVID-19; or (B) perform a rapid COVID-19 test provided by the General Assembly and obtain a negative result on that test…..prior to entering any legislative space on any day of the week.”

Some lawmakers – including Rep. Vicki Strong (R-Albany) – have said they will not be vaccinated or submit to PCR testing. According to media reports, Senate Pro Tem Becca Balint (D-Windham) acknowledged the Legislature has yet to determine how to proceed with dissenters like Strong.

A Vermont advocacy group supporting vaccination freedom is asking Vermonters to request the Rules Committee decision be delayed until after Jan. 14, the date of an informational meeting on vaccine passports and mandates.

The following was emailed today by Health Choice Vermont and Vermont Grasroots:

“Please would you reach out to members of the House and Senate Rules committee urging them to postpone decisions, slated for Dec. 21 and 22 respectively, on vaccine passports or test mandates until after the 10 doctors of the International Alliance of Physicians and Medical Studies address folks in Montpelier on Jan. 14?”

The email also references data from Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s book, “The Real Story of Dr. Fauci,” and the following intriguing data on U.S. Covid-19 mortality per-million of popularion, compared with other nations:

United States 2017 deaths/1M

Iran 1449 deaths/1M

Sweden 1444 deaths/1M

Germany 1126 deaths/1M

Cuba 650 deaths/1M

Jamaica 630 deaths/1M

Denmark 455 deaths/1M

India 327 deaths/1M

Vietname 197 deaths/1M

Finland 194 deaths/1M

Norway 161 deaths/1M

Japan 139 deaths/1M

Pakistan 128 deaths/1M

Kenya 97 deaths/1M

S Korea 47 deaths/1M

Congo 34 deaths/1M

HongKong 28 deaths/1M

China 3 deaths/1M

Tanzania 0.86 deaths/1M

Vermont Grassroots and Health Choice Vermont also offer Rules Committee contact information, which is public information available on the legislative website:

HOUSE RULES COMMITTEE

SENATE RULES COMMITTEE

Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR
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3 thoughts on “State House vax passport rule to be decided

  1. Reading a book, Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. This is exactly the same type of crap the Nazis used, after the Reichstag fire, to take control of the German government. Soon the Brown shirts will be in the streets.

  2. Hey VTGOP,

    Now might be a good time to say something. We need leaders. Vickie Strong has a wonderful back bone…….wonderful mind, might want to follow her lead.

    Don’t wait for national to send you advice, this is their plan, they are the Uniparty.
    Don’t wait for national to send you money, they like things the way they are! Uniparty rules!

    Why would national GOP not send lots of money and support to Vermont? If they loved America, stood for American ideals, the constitution, natural and spiritual laws why would they let us flounder?

    The southern Baptists are sending preachers to Vermont…because they know what is going on within our state.

    Vermont is easily defensible, our population doesn’t even equal a small city. Yet here we are the first colony of the united nations, looking to lock us down any moment and national is doing NOTHING!!!!

    We need to be more aware…….WE ARE NOT GOING TO GET HELP FROM NATIONAL…….GET IN OUR OWN LIFE BOAT AND START ROWING…

    Three Cheers for Rep Strong, perhaps many others within the party can comment or publish their own articles….you can do that here, it’s still a free speech place.

    TGBTG

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