Big Sky Roundup

Gov. Gianforte issues executive order prohibiting ‘vaccine passports’

By: - April 13, 2021 3:56 pm

Gov. Greg Gianforte receives a shot of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine from pharmacist Drew Garton on Thursday, April 1, 2021 at a Walgreen’s pharmacy in Helena, Mont. “I just got my first shot and I feel great,: Gianforte said to members of the press after. “I would encourage all other Montanans to go out and get theirs. It’s the only path forward.”

Gov. Greg Gianforte has issued an executive order prohibiting vaccination passports in Montana, according to a news release sent out by his office.

Currently, there is no state law requiring vaccine passports.

Specifically, the order prohibits “the state-sponsored development and required use of so-called vaccine passports in Montana.”

Under the order, no state entity or private business may require proof of vaccination status as a condition to access service.

In the release, Gianforte continued to encourage people to get the vaccine, but said it would not be mandated or compelled “through vaccine passports, vaccine passes, or other compulsory means.”

The order states that vaccine passports exclude un-vaccinated Americans from “participating in everyday life” and “undermine individual liberty and personal privacy.”

As of Tuesday, 597,082 Montanans had received one dose of the vaccine and 250,643 were fully immunized, according to state data.

Two bills making their way through the legislative process would put in place laws similar to the conditions of the Republican governor’s executive order.

House Bill 702, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Carlson, R-Manhattan, would prohibit discrimination based on vaccine status. And House Bill 703, carried by Belgrade Republican Rep. Jedediah Hinkle, would prohibit vaccination passports.

Both bills cleared the House on largely party lines and were heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. No executive action was taken.

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Keith Schubert
Keith Schubert

Keith Schubert was born and raised in Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019. He has worked at the St.Paul Pioneer Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and most recently, the Asbury Park Press, covering everything from local craft fairs to crime and courts to municipal government to the Minnesota state legislature. In his free time, he enjoys cheering on Wisconsin sports teams and exploring small businesses. Keith is no longer a reporter with the Daily Montanan.