PHONE CALLS NEEDED TUESDAY, JUNE 8TH!

 

It’s time to up the pressure Wisconsin!  After an absolutely amazing turnout for the Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics public hearing on AB309, AB299, AB303, AB316, and AB347, it looks promising that all five bills will be passed by the committee, likely on either June 8th or June 9th .  While all of these are good bills and move us in the right direction, AB309 is the most comprehensive and is the only one that would protect all individuals against discrimination based on vaccination status for all vaccines.

But there is no guarantee that all of these bills will move to the floor for the entire Assembly to vote on.  This is where we need YOU!

Please CALL Assembly leadership ON TUESDAY, JUNE 8TH and respectfully let them know that you want them to place AB309 on the calendar for their floor session on June 16th.  This includes the following individuals:

  • Representative Robin Vos: (608)266-9171
  • Representative Jim Steineke: (608)266-2418
  • Representative Kevin Petersen: (608)266-3794
  • Representative Tyler August: (608)266-1190
  • Representative Tyler Vorpagel: (608)266-8530

Please ALSO call your personal Assembly Representative on TUESDAY, JUNE 8TH if they are not one of the individuals mentioned above and tell them to ask the above individuals to move AB309 forward.  If you do not know who your representative is, you can find out here by entering your address in the “Who are my legislators?” box.

When you call, simply state your name, where you are from and state that you would like AB309 to be added to the calendar for the floor session on June 16th and then choose one, two, or all three of the talking points below as your reason(s) why.  Although the staff are generally very polite when you call, if you would prefer to just leave a message, you can call before 8am or after 5pm on Tuesday, June 8th.  Whether you talk to a person or leave a message, PLEASE remain respectful.

1. Passage of AB309 would ensure that all students are granted an equal opportunity to attend any college which they have been accepted into, and not denied entry based on vaccination status. Subjecting a subset of the population to mandatory masks and/or frequent testing if they wish to decline a vaccine is unjust. Just as they cannot legally be discriminated against based on their race, ethnicity, gender, or religion, they should also expect that they will not be discriminated against based on vaccination status.

2.  Wisconsin is at a high risk of losing many skilled workers should businesses begin imposing vaccine mandates. Additionally, many workers may not tolerate indefinite masking, and choose to quit rather than being singled out for declining to receive or show proof of vaccination. We currently have a severe shortage of skilled workers, especially healthcare professionals. Losing more workers will be catastrophic to our economy. While some employers want to mandate vaccines, it remains unknown whether these same employers would cover medical expenses should a vaccine they mandate cause harm. Where there is a risk, there must always be a choice.

3.  Forcing people to show proof of vaccination in order to enter a place of business, or receive a service is discrimination. No one should have the right to demand knowledge of our personal healthcare decisions or be permitted to discriminate against you if you choose not to disclose this. All healthy individuals must be permitted to move freely in society. Without AB309, there is no guarantee that you will be permitted access to services should you decline to receive a vaccine or show proof of vaccination.

Discrimination is not okay. Discrimination has never been okay. Discrimination will never be okay. Discrimination based on a person’s vaccination status is no different. Let’s ensure that we can live and work in a society where we are ALL treated equally, no matter which choice we make regarding vaccines.  And that means we need YOU to step up and perhaps step outside of your comfort zone to MAKE THE PHONE CALLS ON TUESDAY, JUNE 8TH!

5/27/21: AB 309 and Other Vaccine-Related Bills Get a Hearing 

June 2 at 10am in 417 North (GAR Hall)

We Need YOU to Come!

There has never been a more urgent time than now to move a bill forward that prevents discrimination based on vaccination status. It is expected that the COVID-19 vaccination will receive full FDA approval sometime this summer. And with that, employers and businesses may begin mandating the COVID-19 vaccination. Two Wisconsin colleges already have announced they will require it for the start of their school year this fall.  Extra-curricular sports organizations, entertainment venues, and others may also require it. And they legally would be able to UNLESS there is a law in place that prohibits that type of discrimination. The aim of AB309 is to do just that.

AB309 as well as several other vaccine-related bills (AB299, AB303, AB316, AB347) has been referred to the Committee on Constitution and Ethics and will receive a hearing on Wednesday, June 2nd at 10amWe need YOU to attend! Not just your friends. Not just your family members. Not just strangers. YOU! Even if you do not wish to speak, you can come and register in favor of these bills, and that will be recorded into the minutes.

Several of the committee members have already signed on as co-authors to bills that would protect vaccine choice and prevent vaccine discrimination, including:

  • Rep. Wichgers (Chair)
  • Rep. Thiesfeldt (Vice-Chair)
  • Rep. Allen
  • Rep. Ramthun
  • Rep. Magnafici
  • Rep. Murphy

However, there are three committee members who have not indicated that they support any of these bills, so we need you to reach out to them to ask that they vote in favor. This is ESPECIALLY important if you are a constituent (indicate this when contacting them). And if you are not, please pass this email along to family and friends who are. You can find your legislators here.Those committee members who need to hear from you include:

  • Rep. Hebl: 608-266-7678; rep.hebl@legis.wisconsin.gov
  • Rep. Pope: 608-266-3520; rep.pope@legis.wisconsin.gov
  • Rep. Cabrera: 608-266-1707; rep.cabrera@legis.wisconsin.gov

An additional step we encourage you to take between now and Wednesday is to start a petition in your community no matter where you live in Wisconsin in support of these bills and get as many citizens as possible to sign it. Then bring that petition to the hearing, and submit it to the clerk to be recorded into the minutes. This can be ESPECIALLY valuable if you live in the district of one of the three committee members who have not indicated whether they would support these bills.

We are expecting a high turnout on the day of the hearing, and it is possible that by the time it is your turn to speak, your testimony may feel like a repeat of what has already been said. If you wish to shorten your comments before the committee in order to save time, you may still email your full testimony to Bill Neville, the committee clerk, at william.neville@legis.wisconsin.gov and ask him to pass your testimony on to the rest of the committee members. That way if one or more of the members are not present during your testimony or your time to speak is limited, they will still receive your full testimony.

We have included talking points below to help you draft your email and/or written testimony. Personal stories are going to mean more than any amount of statistics or facts, so please make those your focus if you have them. These might include but are not limited to:

  • – Your employer indicating that they will mandate
  • – Your child’s college indicating that they will mandate
  • – Exclusion from sports or other extracurricular activities due to not being vaccinated
  • – Discrimination already happening in your child’s classroom based on vaccination status
  • – You or a family member chose to get one dose, had an adverse reaction, and decided not to get the second dose

Your testimony or email can be as brief as a couple sentences or as extensive as you’d like. The most important part is that you TAKE ACTION and remain respectful. Thank you so much for doing your part. It takes all of us! We hope to see you Wednesday!

 

Talking Points to Support Legislation to Prevent Discrimination and Segregation Over Vaccination and Immunity Status – AB309/SB336 

Updated: 5/27/21

It is vital for AB309/SB336 to become law in Wisconsin. This will ensure that law abiding healthy citizens are not prevented from working or participating in society. AB309/SB336 is a comprehensive bill that would prevent discrimination of any kind against persons who have chosen not to receive one or more vaccines.

The talk of vaccine passports for individuals to be permitted to participate in society are in development. Some states such as New York have already introduced a vaccine pass which would give COVID-19 vaccinated individuals special privileges. States like Oregon are demanding that businesses and places of worship check proof of vaccination status before permitting entry to people who are not wearing masks. Signs are appearing at Wisconsin businesses stating that unvaccinated people must wear masks to enter the premises. Once vaccine passports are permitted for one vaccine, it will be easy to add requirements for additional vaccines, including passports for current vaccines and even for future vaccines currently under development. While COVID-19 vaccine mandates have been the focus in recent months, it is important that protections are in place to ensure that individuals will not be discriminated against for declining any vaccine product. There are currently 20 different vaccines targeting viral and bacterial illnesses (not including the vaccine for SARS-CoV-2) on the CDC’s recommended adult vaccine schedule. These are all candidates for employers, businesses, and even insurance companies to require given the lack of current protection from such mandates.

There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will have any effect in terms of protecting people from getting the virus and spreading it. Vaccinated people are still being told to wear a mask and stay 6-feet apart from people because there is no evidence that the vaccine is capable of stopping the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Like COVID-19 vaccines, vaccines targeting pertussis, meningococcal, and other bacteria and viruses do not stop transmission, but rather, may offer only personal protection for a period of time. This means that while both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals could potentially be contagious, only unvaccinated individuals will be discriminated against, and prevented from equal access to education, services, employment and more.

Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable, and yet discrimination, bullying and shaming of persons who have chosen to forgo one of more vaccinations is becoming acceptable by many in the media, public health, and academia. There have been media stories calling for the addresses of unvaccinated families to be made public in order to target and shame them. Articles have included language encouraging people to “Shame and Shun “anti-vaccine” parents or asking that they be jailed if they choose not to fully vaccinate their children. Medical professionals are refusing to treat the children of parents who decide to decline, delay, or selectively vaccinate. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that it is an “acceptable option for pediatric care clinicians to dismiss families who refuse vaccines.” Anyone who questions the safety or effectiveness of a vaccine is labeled “anti-vaccine” and quickly becomes a target of bullying, shaming and discrimination.

While vaccine exemptions for medical, religious, or personal reasons are available to daycare, and K to 12 students (Chapter 252.04), and during a declared State of Emergency (Chapter 252.041), protections to prevent discrimination on the basis of a person’s vaccine status are lacking in Wisconsin. There are no employment protections, or protections to ensure access to housing, medical care, higher education, life or health insurance for persons who have chosen not to receive one or more vaccines in Wisconsin law.

There are currently no state or federal exceptions to protect employees from vaccine mandates for any of the existing vaccines recommended by the CDC for reasons of conscience objections or otherwise. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission affirms the legal right of an employer to exclude the employee from the workplace even if an employee cannot get vaccinated for COVID-19 or another vaccine because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief and there is no reasonable accommodation possible. The state will have to step in and protect employees’ right to delay or refuse vaccines. While the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) allows employees to decline Hepatitis B Vaccines, and OSHA and many labor unions have expressed opposition to annual influenza vaccination policies that do not include religious and/or personal objection exemptions, there are far too many gaps in protection for employees to refuse vaccines for work. AB309/SB336 would ensure protection for all workers.

Individuals and parents may choose to exempt themselves or their children from vaccination for a number of reasons, which may include a previous serious reaction, vaccine injury of a loved one, or because they believe that the risk of harm outweighs any perceived benefit. They should not be banned from employment or participating in society for choosing not to receive a liability free pharmaceutical product.

All vaccines carry the risk of injury or death so there has to be informed consent and the right to refuse any vaccine without penalty. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has already paid out over $4.5 billion in damages. AB309/SB336 will ensure that individuals and families who have already been victims of vaccine injury are not unjustly discriminated against for declining to risk their life or health by receiving another vaccine product. People injured by a COVID-19 vaccine have little recourse. Vaccine manufacturers and providers are shielded from liability through the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, or PREP Act. This federal law establishes that the only option for compensation for COVID-19 vaccine victims is the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP). Only eight percent of all petitioners since 2010 have been awarded compensation through the CICP. No legal or medical expert fees are covered, no pain and suffering is awarded, lost wages are capped at $50,000, and there is no judicial appeal. The fact that vaccine injuries and deaths related to vaccines are real, and persons who take them can potentially be harmed, vaccination must always be voluntary.

5/23/21: We Need YOUR Help to Get a Senate Hearing on Vaccine-Related Bills

 

We are delivering updates on AB309/SB336 as it works its way through the legislative process as promised! This bill is incredibly important because it protects people from being discriminated against based on vaccination status. It is especially important that it proceed through the assembly and senate NOW, before it’s too late. Before the COVID-19 vaccine gets full FDA approval this summer. And before employers and colleges mandate it. This is where we need your help.

This bill and three other vaccine-related bills (AB299, AB303/SB337, AB316/SB342) have been referred to the Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics and the Senate Committee on Health. Save the date for a hearing in the assembly on June 2nd (more details to come), but the senate needs a bit more convincing.

So we are asking for CONSTITUENTS of the committee members to call or email their office and let them know that you support these bills and want them to hold a hearing as soon as possible. You can also print off this pdf letter that has been done for you, fill in the four blanks (senator’s name, date, your name, where you live so that they know you are a constituent), and mail it to your senator.  The committee members are:

If you are not a constituent, the best thing you can do is forward this email on to friends and family who live in these districts. To view each committee member’s district, you can simply click on their name above. Hearing from constituents ALWAYS matters more than anyone else. So if you ARE in one of these districts, PLEASE step up and contact your senator today – because your voice will matter SO MUCH more than those who are not constituents.

If you have questions or concerns, you are also welcome to email us at contact@vaccinechcoicewi.org too.

 Updated 5/17/21: AB309 (formerly LRB 2140) has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics, and it’s companion bill SB336 (formerly LRB 2956) has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health

 WE NEED YOU TO TAKE ACTION TODAY!

This is a comprehensive bill that will prevent discrimination based on a person’s vaccine status relating to ALL vaccines in ALL areas of society, including the ability to obtain employment, housing, receipt of goods or services, access to higher education, a driver’s license, insurance, and more. You can read the full bill text here. LRB 21402956 has moved to the next step in the assembly and senate and has now been assigned a bill number for each house: AB309 in the Assembly and SB336 in the Senate

The following legislators have already signed on to one or both bills:

  • Senator Andre Jacque (bill author)
  • Representative Clint Moses (bill author)
  • Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt
  • Representative Scott Allen
  • Representative David Armstrong
  • Representative Robert Brooks
  • Representative Rachael Cabral-Guevara
  • Representative Calvin Callahan
  • Representative Cody Horlacher
  • Representative Jon Plumer
  • Representative Timothy Ramthun
  • Representative Donna Rozar
  • Representative Michael Schraa
  • Representative Shae Sortwell
  • Representative Chuck Wichgers
  • Senator John Jagler (former Representative)

If your senator and/or assembly representative are on this list, please call or send them a huge THANK YOU for recognizing the importance of vaccine choice in Wisconsin and that it is not ok to discriminate for ANY reason based on a person’s vaccination status.

If your senator and/or assembly representative are NOT on the above list, then please send them another email or call them to let them know that you are disappointed to see that they have not yet signed on to this bill. Let them know that at the very least, you hope you can count on them to support this bill. But also urge them to still sign on as a co-sponsor (yes, they CAN still do this).

If you don’t know who your legislators are, you can enter your address in the box here to find out.

Please ALSO reach out to the Committee on Constitution and Ethics and encourage them to hold a public hearing on this bill and also to vote in favor of it. The members of this committee include:

  • Representative Wichgers (Chair) – (608) 266-3363 or (888) 534-0083
  • Representative Thiesfeldt (Vice-Chair) – (608) 266-3156 or (888) 529-0052
  • Representative Allen – (608) 266-8580 or (888) 534-0097
  • Representative Ramthun – (608) 266-9175 or (888) 534-0059
  • Representative Magnafici – (608) 267-2365 or (888) 534-0028
  • Representative Murphy – (608) 266-7500 or (888) 534-0056
  • Representative Hebl – (608) 266-7678
  • Representative Pope – (608) 266-3520 or (888) 534-0080
  • Representative Cabrera – (608) 266-1707 or (888) 534-0009

If time is extremely tight for you, you can blind carbon copy (bcc) all of the committee members at their email addresses with one single email:

Rep.Wichgers@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Thiesfeldt@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Allen@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Ramthun@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Magnafici@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Murphy@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Hebl@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Pope@legis.wisconsin.gov, Rep.Cabrera@legis.wisconsin.gov

Personal stories and personally worded emails always carry the most weight. This can be as simple as stating that you are a constituent, and you would like them to support AB309/SB336. Or, you can use the talking points below to help you elaborate further. If there are parts you want to copy and paste from the talking points below, you can also do that. Just be sure to include your address when contacting them so that they can verify that you are a constituent. Calls and emails from constituents ALWAYS carry the most weight.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to be done. This bill will not move forward if there is not strong support behind it from Wisconsinites across the entire state. This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s time to step up even if you have never contacted your legislator before. Our freedom depends on YOU!

If you received this email from someone else, you can add yourself directly to Vaccine Choice Wisconsin’s email address here. You can also sign up for alerts from the National Vaccine Information Center here.

Please note that AB299, AB303, and AB316 are also positive bills that would move us in the right direction in Wisconsin, so you can also ask your legislators to support those bills.  But AB309/SB336 is so comprehensive that its passage would cover everything included in these other bills and more.

What to expect next: We hope to get a hearing on AB309 in the Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics – and it could be as soon as this month!  It may or may not get a hearing in the senate.  But it will need to pass both the assembly and senate before moving to the governor’s desk.  We will keep you posted as everything unfolds.

But for today – make those calls or send those emails!!!

Talking Points to Support Legislation to Prevent Discrimination and Segregation Over Vaccination and Immunity Status – AB309/SB336 (Formerly LRB 2140/2956)

It is vital for AB309/SB336 to become law in Wisconsin. This will ensure that law abiding healthy citizens are not prevented from working or participating in society. AB309/SB336 is a comprehensive bill that would prevent discrimination of any kind against persons who have chosen not to receive one or more vaccines.

The talk of vaccine passports for individuals to be permitted to participate in society are in development. Some states such as New York have already introduced a vaccine pass which would give COVID-19 vaccinated individuals special privileges. Once vaccine passports are permitted for one vaccine, it will be easy to add requirements for additional vaccines, including passports for current vaccines and even for future vaccines currently under development. While COVID-19 vaccine mandates have been the focus in recent months, it is important that protections are in place to ensure that individuals will not be discriminated against for declining any vaccine product. There are currently 20 different vaccines targeting viral and bacterial illnesses (not including the vaccine for SARS-CoV-2) on the CDC’s recommended adult vaccine schedule. These are all candidates for employers, businesses, and even insurance companies to require given the lack of current protection from such mandates.

There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will have any effect in terms of protecting people from getting the virus and spreading it. Vaccinated people are still being told to wear a mask and stay 6-feet apart from people because there is no evidence that the vaccine is capable of stopping the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Like COVID-19 vaccines, vaccines targeting pertussis, meningococcal, and other bacteria and viruses do not stop transmission, but rather, may offer only personal protection for a period of time. This means that while both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals could potentially be contagious, only unvaccinated individuals will be discriminated against, and prevented from equal access to education, services, employment and more.

Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable, and yet discrimination, bullying and shaming of persons who have chosen to forgo one of more vaccinations is becoming acceptable by many in the media, public health, and academia. There have been media stories calling for the addresses of unvaccinated families to be made public in order to target and shame them. Articles have included language encouraging people to “Shame and Shun “anti-vaccine” parents or asking that they be jailed if they choose not to fully vaccinate their children. Medical professionals are refusing to treat the children of parents who decide to decline, delay, or selectively vaccinate. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that it is an “acceptable option for pediatric care clinicians to dismiss families who refuse vaccines.” Anyone who questions the safety or effectiveness of a vaccine is labeled “anti-vaccine” and quickly becomes a target of bullying, shaming and discrimination.

While vaccine exemptions for medical, religious, or personal reasons are available to daycare, and K to 12 students (Chapter 252.04), and during a declared State of Emergency (Chapter 252.041), protections to prevent discrimination on the basis of a person’s vaccine status are lacking in Wisconsin. There are no employment protections, or protections to ensure access to housing, medical care, higher education, life or health insurance for persons who have chosen not to receive one or more vaccines in Wisconsin law.

There are currently no state or federal exceptions to protect employees from vaccine mandates for any of the existing vaccines recommended by the CDC for reasons of conscience objections or otherwise. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission affirms the legal right of an employer to exclude the employee from the workplace even if an employee cannot get vaccinated for COVID-19 or another vaccine because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief and there is no reasonable accommodation possible. The state will have to step in and protect employees’ right to delay or refuse vaccines. While the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) allows employees to decline Hepatitis B Vaccines, and OSHA and many labor unions have expressed opposition to annual influenza vaccination policies that do not include religious and/or personal objection exemptions, there are far too many gaps in protection for employees to refuse vaccines for work. AB309/SB336 would ensure protection for all workers.

Individuals and parents may choose to exempt themselves or their children from vaccination for a number of reasons, which may include a previous serious reaction, vaccine injury of a loved one, or because they believe that the risk of harm outweighs any perceived benefit. They should not be banned from employment or participating in society for choosing not to receive a liability free pharmaceutical product.

All vaccines carry the risk of injury or death so there has to be informed consent and the right to refuse any vaccine without penalty. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has already paid out over $4.5 billion in damages. AB309/SB336 will ensure that individuals and families who have already been victims of vaccine injury are not unjustly discriminated against for declining to risk their life or health by receiving another vaccine product. People injured by a COVID-19 vaccine have little recourse. Vaccine manufacturers and providers are shielded from liability through the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, or PREP Act. This federal law establishes that the only option for compensation for COVID-19 vaccine victims is the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP). Only eight percent of all petitioners since 2010 have been awarded compensation through the CICP. No legal or medical expert fees are covered, no pain and suffering is awarded, lost wages are capped at $50,000, and there is no judicial appeal. The fact that vaccine injuries and deaths related to vaccines are real, and persons who take them can potentially be harmed, vaccination must always be voluntary.