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House refuses late 'vaccine passport' bill

An attempt to introduce a delayed bill by bringing it to the House floor failed.

It required a two-thirds vote of the House.

Rep. Sebastian Ertelt (R-Lisbon) made the motion for the delayed bill, which was not discussed in a delayed bills committee. The bill would have prohibited employers from requiring so-called “vaccine passports” of their employees.

A day earlier, the House passed a so-called “hog house” bill that would have prohibited state or local governments from requiring businesses to mandate those vaccine passports.

"If we do not offer this protection to our citizens, then we are sending them a loud message, that there are no bounds to the power of their government or their employers," Ertelt said. "That is not the America or the North Dakota that I want my child to grow up in."

But supporters couldn’t muster enough votes for the bill’s introduction.

Several public supporters were in the House gallery, and they made their displeasure known, groaning loudly when the vote was announced.

"That's not right," yelled one.

At that same time, the state Senate killed the other measure, passed by the House earlier. It originally began as a bill to limit the Governor’s authority to issue emergency declarations. The House added language not only about vaccine passports, but about facilities for immigrant children, among other items.

Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman (D-New Rockford) objected.

"I just think there's so many parts in this bill, that we should have had in-depth hearings on," Heckaman said. "I really think this should have been a number of bills themselves, rather than all packed into this smorgasbord."

That measure failed on a 36 to 10 vote.

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