A newly proposed South Carolina law would make it illegal for certain institutions to ask a person for their COVID-19 vaccination status.
Submitted to the South Carolina General Assembly on January 20, 2022, the bill would amend the South Carolina Code of Laws to establish criminal liability in certain circumstances for inquiring about another person’s COVID-19 vaccination status.
“A representative of a public, private, or nonprofit entity who asks about a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status should be fined more than $14,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both,” the bill read. “Any employee, officer, agent, or other representative of a public, nonprofit, or private entity who inquires about the COVID-19 vaccination status of any student, employee, member, or anyone else seeking admission on the entity’s premises is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than fourteen thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”
“The government has no place in making you or telling you to take the vaccination or threatening your livelihood if you don’t,” said state Rep. William Chumley, a co-sponsor of the bill, known as H.4848. “South Carolina didn’t want to get in this fight.”
“It was brought to us by the federal government,” he added.
“It’s about protecting people from being forced or coerced into getting a vaccine for purposes of employment, admission to schools, or government services,” state Rep. Wayne Long, a Republican, told Channel 2 News. Long added. “And even for people who have gotten the vaccine, I’ve spoken with many of them. It’s really a privacy issue.”
The proposed law comes two weeks after the Supreme Court, in a 6–3 majority opinion, blocked an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emergency temporary standard that required employees at companies with 100 or more workers to either get the vaccine or submit weekly testing.