The New Jersey State Legislature is considering adoption of Assembly Bill 5607 that would prohibit discrimination against individuals who have not received COVID-19 vaccine.
The Township of West Milford Council was expected to adopt a resolution in support of the bill at their meeting on Wednesday. It was an action item on the meeting agenda.
The local resolution that was to be up for a council vote said it is imperative that individual privacy is protected. It states that individuals have a right to make their own health care decisions.
The local proposed resolution said A5607 would make it unlawful to ask any individual if the individual has received a COVID-19 vaccine, to require any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or to require any individual to show proof of having received a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of or prerequisite for 15 enumerated activities.
The enumerated activities
These activities as listed in the bill are: the exercise of any privilege or right granted under state or federal law; conducting any business or commerce; traveling to, outside, or within the state; obtaining or maintaining an internship, obtaining or maintaining employment, or receiving a promotion from an employer; participation in any governmental or political activity or receiving a promotion from an employer; participation in any government or political activity; admission in or graduation from a preschool program, elementary or secondary school, college, university, or any institution of education.
Also, participation in any activity, internship, opportunity, program, or sport offered by a preschool program, elementary or secondary school, college or university or any other institution of learning; receiving adequate dental care or health care; maintaining, receiving, or renewing a professional certification or license; obtaining or renewing membership in any professional organization; entrance into or service from any place of business, including, but not limited to, any market, restaurant or store; entrance into and service from any public building, office or structure; entrance into and use of any public park or beach and admission into a service from any amusement park, concert venue, theater or sporting event.
The law being considered by the state says it shall be unlawful to discriminate against or take any adverse action against any individual who has not received a COVID-19 vaccine or who does not disclose whether the individual has received a COVID-19 vaccine.
The partisan bill (Republican 6-0) was introduced May 12 and referred to the Health Committee. It is similar to 04-26 introduced in the Senate and was referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.
Civil damages of up to $25,000
According to the document, if the proposed Assembly bill becomes law, an individual who violates provisions of the act, in addition to any other relief authorized by law, could be liable for civil damages to the victim in the amount of $25,000 in action brought in the Superior Court in the county where the offense occurred.
In addition to award of civil damages the court shall order the defendant to pay the attorney fees or expenses or both, that are actually and reasonably incurred by the victim who is the successful party in the action.
The council planned to send copies of their resolution to State legislative representatives if it was adopted this week.
- Ann Genader