SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah House of Representatives voted 51-23 in support of a bill that blocks businesses and employers from demanding proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
It came Tuesday after a fiery debate on the House floor over Rep. Walt Brooks' House Bill 60.
"The bill screams loudly for freedom, but I hear no mention of responsibility," said Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, who added the bill "grants a right to go and infect others."
Lawmakers rejected an attempt to water down the bill with a substitute. Business groups have raised concerns about HB60, which prohibits businesses from requiring proof of vaccination for entry and employers from requiring proof of vaccination.
Rep. Brooks argued his bill was not "a mandate to remove a mandate."
"We use this process to hear the voice of the people and I've heard that voice," he said as supporters of his bill packed the House gallery.
The bill passed the House but it may face trouble ahead. Governor Spencer Cox last week signaled his disapproval of the bill, calling for the legislature to abandon COVID-19 related bills as cases plummet.
"I would love the legislature to be done with this, too. One of the ways to signal to Utahns we are done and moving on is not to run bills that are divisive," the governor said.