Home California Assemblymember Wicks Delays Employer Vaccine Verification Bill

Assemblymember Wicks Delays Employer Vaccine Verification Bill

Press Release

by ECT

SACRAMENTO — On Tuesday, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks released the following statement regarding the decision to hold Assembly Bill 1993, which would require all California businesses to require their employees and independent contractors to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Our priority during this pandemic has been to make sure all Californians are as safe as possible by following the data and science around public health — which is why California continues to have some of the lowest COVID case rates, deaths and injuries per capita. We introduced AB 1993 because of the high volume of workers, employers and public health experts who expressed the need for vaccine requirements, yet felt unable to make these changes on their own. 

We are now in a new and welcome chapter in this pandemic, with the virus receding for the moment. This provides for us the opportunity to work more collaboratively with labor and employers to address concerns raised by the bill. That is why we have decided to put AB 1993 on pause, and allow space for these conversations to continue and progress. 

While I’m disappointed in the opposition to this bill by public safety unions, it’s my hope that they will ultimately come to the table to make sure all of their workers are vaccinated, and that every job sector in California has the tools necessary to keep their workers safe from COVID-19.

Vaccines, and vaccine requirements, remain a critical tool for moving from pandemic to endemic. That work is still needed, and it could still ensure that millions more Californians become vaccinated. We will continue to monitor new variants and waves, engage with stakeholders on all sides, listen to our public health experts, and be prepared to take action to keep our workers safe and our economy moving.“

Editors Note

Wicks introduced the bill in February which would have made California the first-in-the-nation that would mandate all businesses in the state to require their employees and independent contractors to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

AB 1993 would require new hires of a business to have at least one shot by their first day on the job, and the second within 45 days. The bill includes no option for a testing alternative unless an employee qualifies for a medical or religious exemption.


AB 1993, as introduced, Wicks. Employment: COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
Existing law, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), establishes the Department of Fair Employment and Housing within the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency and sets forth its powers and duties relating to the enforcement of civil rights laws with respect to housing and employment.
Existing federal law, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, authorizes the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services to approve new drugs and products, including vaccines, for introduction into interstate commerce, and authorizes the secretary to authorize vaccines for use in an emergency upon declaring a public health emergency. On February 4, 2020, the secretary determined that there is a public health emergency and declared circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of drugs and biological products. The secretary subsequently authorized the emergency use of 3 vaccines for the prevention of COVID-19, and on August 23, 2021, the secretary approved a vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19.
The California Emergency Services Act authorizes the Governor to declare a state of emergency during conditions of disaster or extreme peril to persons or property, including epidemics. On March 4, 2020, the Governor declared a state of emergency relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pursuant to this authority, the Governor issued several executive orders requiring individuals in specified employment, health care, school, or other settings to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination status, unless specified exceptions are met.
This bill would require an employer to require each person who is an employee or independent contractor, and who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, to show proof to the employer, or an authorized agent thereof, that the person has been vaccinated against COVID-19. This bill would establish an exception from this vaccination requirement for a person who is ineligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical condition or disability or because of a sincerely held religious belief, as specified, and would require compliance with various other state and federal laws. The bill would require proof-of-vaccination status to be obtained in a manner that complies with federal and state privacy laws and not be retained by the employer, unless the person authorizes the employer to retain proof.
This bill would require, on January 1, 2023, each employer to affirm, in a form and manner provided by the department, that each employee or independent contractor complied with these provisions, and would require the employer to affirm that each new employee or independent contractor is in compliance at the time of hiring or contracting with that person. The bill would require the department to impose a penalty of an unspecified amount on an employer for any violation of these provisions.
This bill would repeal these provisions when the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices determines that COVID-19 vaccinations are no longer necessary for the health and safety of individuals.
This bill would include findings that changes proposed by this bill address a matter of statewide concern rather than a municipal affair and, therefore, apply to all cities, including charter cities.
This bill would declare that its provisions are severable.

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