OAKLAND, CA – On Monday, Asm. Buffy Wicks announced that she will hold her proposed vaccine verification bill from moving forward in the State Legislature until 2022, in order to allow more time to create the strongest policy possible, and provide for additional stakeholder collaboration.
As proposed, the bill would require that all employers, both public and private sector, require all employees who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to show proof of vaccination or take a weekly COVID-19 test. Asm. Wicks will continue to work on this proposed bill language headed into the next legislative session, in partnership with Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), Asm. Akilah Weber, M.D. (D-San Diego), Asm. Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), and Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton).
“Every day, thousands of Californians are newly affected by this virus – and we have a collective responsibility to do all we can to protect each and every one of them,” said Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland). “It’s on all of us to protect our kids who can’t get vaccinated, to keep our neighbors from being the newest patients in the ICU, to make sure no family has to plan a funeral that never needed to happen. We all want these tragic times to be over, and to see the pandemic behind us — and the fact is that vaccinations are our pathway there.
Wicks continued, “We’ve made significant progress over the past couple weeks, and I’m hopeful that this conversation will ultimately lead to an increase in vaccination rates, and a decrease in COVID deaths and ICU stays. I’m proud of the framework we’ve created for this bill, and of the collaboration that’s taken place among such a diverse group of stakeholders. I’m committed to working with my colleagues and key stakeholders to make this the strongest bill possible headed into 2022.”
Additional quotes from key stakeholders:
“SEIU members in California have been fighting this virus on the frontlines for over a year and a half, risking our own and our families’ health, and we are committed to helping fashion policies to increase safety through wider vaccination outreach and testing,” said Tia Orr, Government Relations Director, SEIU California. “We look forward to working with Assemblymember Wicks to accomplish this goal together and ensuring that workers have a say in implementation.”
“Increasing vaccinations is critical to safer workplaces,” said Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary of the California Labor Federation. “We appreciate the efforts of Assemblymember Wicks and her colleagues in the legislature to protect workers from the ravages of COVID-19 through increased vaccination. We look forward to continuing to work with legislators to keep workplaces safe and workers healthy as this horrible pandemic wears on.”
“Increasing vaccination rates is necessary to end this pandemic,” said Jennifer Barrera, Executive Vice President of CalChamber. “CalChamber will continue to work with policymakers in the coming weeks and months on proposals that increase vaccinations and help stop the spread of the virus without unnecessarily raising costs or increasing litigation against employers.”
“As an industry that employs millions of Californians, retailers will continue to be part of the effort with the administration, the legislature and in our communities on how we can best move forward on this important public health issue,” said Rachel Michelin, President and CEO of the California Retailers Association. “We share Assemblymember Wicks’ commitment to moving California past this pandemic.”
Editors Note – previous story
A bill introduced by Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) aimed to authorize the Bay Area Toll Agency to designate transit-only traffic lanes could be gutted and replaced with a vaccine mandate.
The bill, AB 455, essentially would create a vaccine passport for those who want to go to a hotel, restaurant, movie or gym. This was done by the “gut-and-amend” process where new legislation replaces an old bill.