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Committee Will Hear Up to 14 Hours of Testimony on Vaccine Exemptions

 Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) testifies as a sponsor of HB435
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) testifies as a sponsor of HB435, which creates exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Ohio lawmakers are preparing for two days of testimony on a bill, HB435, that creates exemptions in state law for people who don’t want to comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

The bill would allow students and employees in the public and private sector to claim COVID-19 vaccine mandate exemptions, including "reasons of conscience."

Business groups and health care organizations say the bill goes too far and anti-vaccine mandate groups say it doesn't go far enough.

Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Twp.) says this makes it hard to reach a deal in his caucus.

"It's very diverse. We have a spectrum of personalities in legislators across the state that are hearing very different things depending on their districts, and what we want to do is make sure we have a bill that has as much consensus as possible," Carfagna said.

The bill will be in the House Labor and Commerce Committee from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

The exemptions bill is just the latest measure from the Ohio House to address vaccine mandates. Other proposals range from a bill to ban all mandatory vaccines to one that only prohibits required COVID-19 shots in the public sector.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.