UPDATE: 4/9/2022 - AB 675 presented to Governor on 4/4/2022 and was vetoed on 4/8/2022.
If it had become law, this bill would have required employers who issue COVID-19 vaccine or testing mandates on their current or potential employees to accept documentation of natural immunity to COVID-19 in place of vaccination or testing. The bill specified acceptable documentation as either proof of a positive COVID-19 test or a serology test showing the presence of naturally occurring antibodies.
AB 675 was vetoed by Governor Tony Evers on April 8, 2022. The Governor stated in his veto message that he vetoed the bill because he objects "to preventing employers from making decisions that are informed by science and public health to help combat the spread of COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine remains the most effective tool we have to prevent serious illness, hospitalizations, and death." He went on to state: "Private entities and businesses should remain free to implement COVID-19 mitigation measures to keep themselves, their workers, and customers safe without the Legislature's political interference."
NVIC maintains that the U.S. governmental system as outlined in the U.S. Constitution guarantees protection of the natural rights of individuals and does not condone discrimination against individuals by government or private entities. AB 675 only required private entities to accept proof of natural immunity as a condition of employment in lieu of proof of COVID vaccination.
The COVID-19 vaccine is the only tool that the government has heavily promoted in an effort to prevent serious illness, hospitalizations, and death from complications of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Some have noted that there has been a reluctance by federal health officials to promote therapeutics as a part of a treatment regimen for COVID-19 infection with the same zeal that COVID vaccines have been promoted. Natural immunity to COVID-19 has been demonstrated to give "longer lasting and stronger protection" than what vaccination provides.
While NVIC maintained a "watch" position on this bill because it could have been amended for the protection to apply to more people who recovered from a past infection, it still would have provided some protection from COVID-19 vaccine mandates for residents of Wisconsin had it been allowed to go into effect.
These bills would have provided that if an employer requires an employee to provide proof of having received a vaccine against COVID-19, or to be regularly tested for COVID-19 as a condition of continued employment or an offer of employment, the employer is required to accept, in lieu of proof of such vaccination or regular testing, documentation demonstrating natural immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus—either documentation showing that the individual tested positive for COVID-19 or documentation of a serology test that shows the presence of naturally occurring antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the individual's blood.
AB 675 was amended in the Senate committee, which NVIC supported, allowing for a notarized statement from an individual attesting recovery from a past COVID-19 infection. However, the full Senate removed the amendment and NVIC Advocacy’s final position on this bill was a watch.
UPDATE: 3/1/2022 - AB 675 reported correctly enrolled in the Assembly on 2/28/2022
UPDATE: 2/23/2022 - AB 675: Assembly concurs with changes made in the Senate to remove a personal statement of past infection as proof of immunity. Because the personal statement of past infection has been removed from both versions of the bill, we have changed our position from a "support" to a "watch."
UPDATE: 2/15/2022 - The Assembly approved AB 675 as amended in the Senate on 2/15/2022, referred to the Assembly Committee on Rules.
UPDATE: 2/12/2022 - AB 675 has been placed on the Senate 2/15/2022 Calendar. SB 662 is eligible for scheduling.
UPDATE: 2/10/2022 - The Senate amended SB 662 to remove the personal statement of past infection for COVID-19. Without this, the bill discriminates against people who didn’t seek medical care or testing when sick with COVID, and serologic tests for COVID-19 are not even fully FDA approved yet and are expensive. So now only the assembly version accepts a personal statement of past infection.
UPDATE: 1/29/2022 - AB 675 read first time and referred to committee on Senate Organization on 1/26/2022
UPDATE: 1/26/2022 - AB 675 was passed in the Assembly, Ayes 59, Noes 34
UPDATE: 1/20/2022 - SB 662 was passed the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform with the amendment NVIC supported, which allows for a notarized statement from an individual attesting recovery from a past COVID-19 infection. Since both the Assembly and the Senate have adopted this amendment, we are changing our position from WATCH to SUPPORT.
UPDATE: 1/18/2022 - SB 662 scheduled for Executive Session in Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform on Thursday, Jan. 20th, at 10:00 AM at 10 South State Capitol. See corresponding legislative action alert with talking points and requested amendment action of legislators: https://nvicadvocacy.org/members/State-Teams/My-State/Action-Alert-Details/itemid/2421/State/WI?Page=True
Executive session agenda: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/raw/cid/1654274
UPDATE: 1/12/2022 Executive Session 10:30 AM 328 Northwest - Assembly - Committee on Constitution and Ethics for AB 675 on 11/13/2022
UPDATE: 1/11/2022 - SB 662 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform on Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 10:00 AM in the North Hearing Room - 2nd Floor North Wing at the state capitol. Agenda - https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/raw/cid/1652038
UPDATE: 12/13/2021 - The hearing was cancelled for SB 662 on 12/15/2021. Bills can carry over from odd to even years in WI, so this bill will most likely be taken up again in 2022.
UPDATE: 12/1/2021 - SB 662 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform on 12/15/2021 at 10:00 AM in 412, East State Capitol. Agenda - https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/raw/cid/1648037
AB 675 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics on 10/29/2021. SB 662 is the companion bill that was introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform on 11/2/2021.
These bills are sponsored by Representatives Horlacher, Cabral-Guevara Allen, Armstrong, Brandtjen, Brooks, Dittrich, Duchow, Edming,Gundrum, James, Kuglitsch, Macco, Magnafici, Moses, Penterman, Schraa,Skowronski, Sortwell, Spiros, Summerfield, Thiesfeldt, Tittl, Wichgers and Ramthun, cosponsored by Senators Felzkowski, Ballweg, Bernier, Jagler, Marklein, Stafsholt and Stroebel.
These bills provides that if an employer requires an employee to provide proof of having received a vaccine against COVID-19, or to be regularly tested for COVID-19 as a condition of continued employment or an offer of employment, the employer is required to accept, in lieu of proof of such vaccination or regular testing, documentation demonstrating natural immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus—either documentation showing that the individual tested positive for COVID-19 or documentation of a serology test that shows the presence of naturally occurring antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the individual's blood.
This bill could be improved to cover those who recovered from COVID-19 disease without going to a doctor or getting tested. A great way to do this would be to add as an option a personally written notarized statement. While there is a presumption that the individual is genuine in their belief that they had COVID-19, by requiring a notary, there is some degree of accountability and consequences for a false statement.
NVIC Advocacy suggests the following amendment:
(2) If an employer requires an employee or prospective employee to receive a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, to show proof of having received such a vaccine, or to be regularly tested for COVID-19 as a condition of an offer of employment or continued employment with the employer, the employer shall accept, in lieu of requiring such a vaccine, proof of having received such a vaccine, or regular testing for COVID-19, documentation demonstrating natural immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which may be either documentation showing that the individual tested positive for COVID-19 or documentation of a serology test that shows the presence of naturally occurring antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the individual's blood that meets all of the following requirements:
(a) It is signed by a health care provider.
(b) It is dated after March 1, 2020.
NVIC Advocacy does not support vaccine mandates. However, the Governor of WI vetoed AB 23 that would have prohibited some COVID-19 Vaccine mandates. This bill would at least provide one option for refusing a vaccine mandate by an employer.
https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2021/related/proposals/ab675 - Text for AB 675
https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2021/proposals/reg/asm/bill/ab675 - Status and History for AB 675
https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2021/proposals/reg/sen/bill/sb662 - Text for SB 662
https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2021/proposals/reg/sen/bill/sb662 - Status and History for SB 662