Pennsylvania House votes on issue of ‘vaccine passports,’ health secretary limits

Pennsylvania
FILE - In this Thursday, April 8, 2021, file photo, Kent State University student Regan Raeth, of Hudson, Ohio, looks at her vaccination bandage as she waits for 15 minutes after her shot in Kent, Ohio. On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, Gov. Mike DeWine announced the end of the state's mask mandate as new COVID-19 cases decrease and more Ohioans get vaccinated. DeWine said the mask mandate will end June 2 except for nursing homes and assisted living facilities

FILE – In this Thursday, April 8, 2021, file photo, Kent State University student Regan Raeth, of Hudson, Ohio, looks at her vaccination bandage as she waits for 15 minutes after her shot in Kent, Ohio. On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, Gov. Mike DeWine announced the end of the state’s mask mandate as new COVID-19 cases decrease and more Ohioans get vaccinated. DeWine said the mask mandate will end June 2 except for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. (AP Photo/Phil Long, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Republicans in the Pennsylvania House are advancing legislation to ban the use of so-called COVID-19 “vaccine passports” by colleges, universities or government buildings and to put new restrictions on the health secretary’s powers during a health emergency.

Representatives voted on party lines Wednesday to approve the measure that supporters described as a way to protect private health information. But opponents warn it would needlessly endanger public health.

The bill would prevent the state health secretary from ordering closures and from requiring people who have not been exposed to a contagion to physically distance, wear a mask, “conduct a specific hygienic practice” such as hand-washing, quarantine or restrict travel.

Wolf says he’ll veto it.

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