JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The 2022 Missouri legislative session that begins Wednesday at noon will start with 32 pre-filed bills mentioning COVID-19; 14 in the House and 18 in the Senate.
Missouri Rep. Ed Lewis, R-Moberly, pre-filed three bills, all prohibiting discrimination against someone based on their COVID-19 vaccination status.
- HB 1768: prohibits discrimination against an employee based on COVID-19 vaccination status
- HB 1769: prevents state-funded entities from requiring COVID-19 vaccines
- HB 2055: creates $50,000 fine for firing employees based on COVID-19 vaccination status
The session is beginning as coronavirus numbers continue their surge across Missouri. The state reported 5,000 new confirmed cases Tuesday as the daily average keeps climbing. Hospitalizations are also climbing -- the statewide number on New Year's Eve surpassed those seen during the peak of the delta surge this summer.
Lewis told ABC 17 News he's not against the coronavirus vaccine, but he doesn't think people should be forced to take it. Lewis said constituents contacted him asking for protections like these.
"But I got hundreds of hundreds of emails saying please protect us, please protect my job, please do something to protect us," Lewis said.
Rep. Ashley Aune, D-Kansas City, does not agree with Lewis's viewpoint on vaccines in the workplace.
"As a business owner myself, I really feel that businesses should have every right to make the decisions that they feel they need to make to protect the safety of their employees," Aune said.