Prohibits state requiring vaccine passports with exceptions/public health from using law enforcement/schools mandating vaccines not FDA approved

State: KS
Bill Number: SB 34
Position: WATCH
Action Required: NONE
Status: Died, vetoed by Governor Laura Kelly on 5/13/2022

Legislation Details:

UPDATE: 5/23/2022 - The Governor's veto of SB 34 was sustained and there was no motion to reconsider on 5/23/2022. 

UPDATE: 5/14/2022 - Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed SB 34 on 5/12/2022 and it returned to the senate. The bill in its final form as amended would have prohibited state government officials from issuing vaccine passports or requirements that state residents provide proof they have received COVID-19 vaccine. It also removed a section of state law enabling public health officials to issue orders compelling law enforcement officers to enforce those orders.

Governor Kelly was quoted criticizing the bill and explaining her veto. She said that the bill “implements a one-size-fits-all approach for all infectious diseases” and “significantly limits any government entity’s response to any infectious disease outbreak.”

While the exceptions in the bill were too broad and did not apply to a governmental entity that is a medical care facility, as defined in K.S.A. 65-425 and amendments, or an adult care home, this bill would have had protected some citizens from current COVID-19 vaccine requirements and discriminatory actions taken by overzealous public health officials against those who decline a government recommended vaccine in the future. 

UPDATE:  5/6/2022 - SB 34 presented to the Governor.

SB 34 as introduced addressed expiration dates for rules and did not include any vaccine issues. The bill was amended in a conference committee and the committee report was adopted on 4/28/2022 to include several vaccine and public health issues.  The Kansas Legislature is currently in recess until May 23, 2022.  They will be back in session May 23rd and are scheduled to adjourn on 5/27/2022. 

This news article gives a summary of the actions taken on SB 34 -

The following additions and amendments concerning the vaccine issue were adopted: 

Adds the following new section to prohibit governmental entities from issuing or requiring COVID-19 Vaccine Passports:

New Sec. 2. (a) (1) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a governmental entity or public official shall not:

(A) Issue a COVID-19 vaccination passport to any individual without such individual's consent;

(B) require any individual to use a COVID-19 vaccination passport within this state for any purpose; or

(C) deny housing to any individual or refuse access by any individual to a place accessible to the general public, or separate any individual from others in a place accessible to the general public, including entry, education, travel and services within this state, based on such individual's COVID-19 vaccination status.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to a governmental entity that is a medical care facility as defined in K.S.A. 65-425, and amendments thereto, or an adult care home.  NVIC Advocacy supports prohibiting vaccine passports.  NVIC Advocacy does not support the exceptions because they are very broad and not specific to facilities that are currently under a CMS mandate from the federal government that is working through the courts.  The bill should instead only give exceptions to facilities that are subject to a valid or enforceable law or rule.

Removes the following section that allows a local health officer or the secretary to order law enforcement to enforce public health orders:

2) may order any sheriff, deputy sheriff or other law enforcement officer of the state or any subdivision to assist in the execution or enforcement of any order issued under this section.

NVIC Advocacy supports removing this section. 

Prohibits tests or vaccines that have not approved FDA approval by adding the following in the law that governs school vaccine requirements:

(2) A test or inoculation shall not be deemed necessary by the secretary if such test or inoculation has not received full approval by the federal food and drug administration for the age of the student to whom the requirement applies.

While this will allow for exemptions if a test or vaccine is required down the road that is not fully approved by the FDA, the conference committee did not fix the current religious belief exemption that applies to all vaccines required for school and is very restrictive and unconstitutional.  This will stay as it is in current law - (2) a written statement signed by one parent or guardian that the child is an adherent of a religious denomination whose religious teachings are opposed to such tests or inoculations.

Text of the adopted committee report - - text, status and history for SB 34