Hobbs Vetoes Bill To Save Lives, Protect Religious Liberty

Hobbs Vetoes Bill To Save Lives, Protect Religious Liberty

By Daniel Stefanski |

A push to protect Arizonans’ constitutional liberties for future health emergencies hit a dead end after clearing both chambers of the Arizona Legislature.

This week, Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed SB 1250, which dealt with vaccine requirements and religious exemptions to those mandated medical shots. The governor’s veto was her 20th of the legislative session.

In a letter to President Warren Petersen on Thursday, the governor explained her reasoning for rejecting the legislature’s proposal: “This bill is unnecessary, as legal protections for an employee’s religious beliefs already exist in federal employment law. This bill also threatens employers with a civil penalty and a hefty fine, which could be devastating for Arizona’s many small businesses.”

Hobbs encouraged legislative leaders to “work to find bipartisan solutions that promote the educated and healthy workforce that is essential for Arizona’s economy.”

Senator Janae Shamp, the bill’s sponsor, was not pleased with the governor’s action, releasing the following statement in response: “I spent my entire career as a nurse, being an advocate for my patients and ensuring that their beliefs are respected and protected. The reason I’m here at the Senate, is because I was fired from my job as a nurse after refusing to get the experimental COVID-19 vaccine. My top priority is this bill because during the pandemic, Americans’ medical freedoms were taken from them, myself included. For me, the Governor’s veto is personal. Not just for me but for every Arizonan who lost their job in the same manner.”

Shamp also addressed the governor’s call for bipartisan solutions, saying, “To call out those who stood to protect our health from an experimental shot that is proving to be toxic for many, is beyond an insult. If we truly care about our healthcare and getting people back to work, then maybe we should come together to get nurses back into our hospitals.”

The senator promised “to continue to fight for Arizonans’ medical freedom.”

On Twitter, Senator Shamp went further, calling Governor Hobbs “an open medical tyrant.”

SB 1250 instituted these main provisions (among others) for state law:

– “Requires employers to allow employees that complete a religious exemption form to opt out of vaccination requirements for COVID-19, influenza A, influenza B, flu or any vaccine authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use only.”

– “Prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee regarding employment, wages or benefits based on vaccination status; and from inquiring into the veracity of an employee’s religious beliefs practices or observances to the extent beyond what is allowed under federal law.”

– “Allows a terminated employee who was not offered or was denied a vaccination religious exemption by their employer to file a complaint with the Attorney General.”

This legislation closely tracked an opinion request from former Senator Kelly Townsend to former Attorney General Mark Brnovich, which was answered on August 20, 2021. Townsend asked three questions, including whether an employer could require a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. Brnovich, who had several lawsuits over federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates (including the first one in the nation that was filed in Brnovich v. Biden), found that “under federal and state law, employers who mandate vaccinations must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who cannot obtain the COVID-19 vaccine due to a disability or a sincerely-held religious belief.”

Brnovich’s opinion also outlined that “a sincerely-held religious belief about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine includes a moral or ethical belief against receiving a COVID-19 vaccine that has the strength of a traditional religious view.” On the 2022 campaign trail, current Attorney General Kris Mayes was asked about forced vaccine mandates by private businesses and responded, “Of course they can. It is a private business.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.