Study: Alabama among GOP legislatures to cut back protections against infectious disease
A study by Kaiser Health News shows Alabama is among the fifty percent of U.S. States to cut back on powers used to protect the public from COVID-19. Republican lawmakers are being spurred by voters angry over mask and vaccine mandates to pass laws to prevent State and Local officials from acting to protect public health. In Alabama, state and local governments cannot issue vaccine passports and schools cannot require COVID-19 vaccinations. Governor Kay Ivey pledged to fight President Biden’s order that businesses mandate their workers get their shots. However, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall confirmed over a month ago that State law cannot prevent business owners from imposing such a mandate. Also, under State law, teenagers over the age of fourteen can consent to receiving vaccinations like the COVID-19 products by Pfzier, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. State lawmakers sought to curtail that right by ordering state-run clinics to seek parental consent.
A Kaiser Health News review of hundreds of pieces of legislation found that, in all 50 states, legislators have proposed bills to curb such public health powers since the COVID-19 pandemic began. While some governors vetoed bills that passed, at least 26 states pushed through laws that permanently weaken government authority to protect public health. In three additional states, an executive order, ballot initiative or state Supreme Court ruling limited long-held public health powers. More bills are pending in a handful of states whose legislatures are still in session.