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Lawmakers debate basis for COVID-19 vaccine mandate exemptions

 Ross McGregor, Ohio Manufacturers' Association, testifies against HB435
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau
Ross McGregor, Ohio Manufacturers' Association, testifies against HB435

Ohio lawmakers are holding hearings on a bill that would make it easier for someone to be exempt from COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Part of that debate is over who is asking for the law in the first place.

Opponents of the bill argue that, with 65% of eligible Ohioans vaccinated, a bill to create exemptions would be to satisfy what they call a "vocal minority," some of whom have shared misinformation on this and other bills.

Rep. Dick Stein (R-Norwalk), who chairs the House Labor and Commerce Committee holding the hearings, says he still thinks exemptions are important to consider.

"A lot of us agree that the vaccine works. It has a more positive than certainly a negative but at the same time there are those out there that see it in a different light and do they have an opinion that needs to be honored," says Stein.

Republican leadership is hoping to pass a bill with consensus in the caucus, however, they're expecting a lot of amendments that could be proposed.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.