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Huffman Views Vaccine Mandate Issues Through Different Silos

COVID-19 vaccine vial and needle
Logan Wallace
Ohio State University
Senate President Matt Huffman says most entities already allow for people to claim exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. But the bill in the House would create exemptions that would allow many people to get around the mandates.

A bill to grant broad exemptions to people who don't want to follow a COVID-19 vaccine mandate is pending in the Ohio House. Meanwhile, the top Senate leader suggests there's hesitation to create regulations in the private sector.

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) was asked if there's support in his chamber for the House bill, HB435, that allows students and employees in the private and public sectors to claim exemptions to avoid COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Huffman says he looks at the issue with four different silos: public K-12 schools, public universities, other public entities, and private entities.

When it comes to the latter, Huffman says the Republican caucus usually "eschews" telling businesses what to do.

"Much of this—as with most regulation, whether it's health-related or others—most of it gets sorted out by the market, and it is getting sorted out by the market," Huffman said.

As for public universities mandating the COVID-19 vaccine, Huffman says the Senate is looking at addressing that issue to "disallow it in the future but try to do something in the present."

Huffman says most entities already grant broad exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandates, but the House bill would create exemptions so broad almost anyone could opt out.
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.