States Are Banning COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

COVID-19 vaccinations continue across the country, Arkansas and Montana are the latest states to advance legislation or enact laws that ban certain requirements – such as vaccine passports or conditions of employment – based on inoculation status.

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, on April 28 signed into law various measures that prevent state and local governments from requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of employment or to access goods and services, according to The Associated Press. The ban on requirements related to employment has some exceptions, including state-owned medical facilities.

The measure related to goods and services access is tied to the concept of “vaccine passports,” which provide proof of vaccination for activities such as traveling or attending concerts. Governors in six states – Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Texas and South Dakota – “have issued executive orders prohibiting vaccine passports/requirements in some regard,” according to James Nash, press secretary for the National Governors Association. Officials in the Joe Biden administration, however, have insisted that there aren’t plans for a federal vaccine passport system.

“Let me be clear that the government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential,” said Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, during an April 14 press briefing. “There’ll be no federal vaccination database, no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”

Photos: COVID-19 Vaccinations

TOPSHOT - Health professional Raimunda Nonata, 70, is inoculated with the Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac vaccine against COVID-19 inside her house becoming the first Quilombola (traditional Afro-descendent community member) to be vaccinated at the community Quilombo Marajupena, city of Cachoeira do Piria, Para state, Brazil, on January 19, 2021. - The community of Quilombo Marajupena, 260km far-away from Belem, capital of Para, doesn't have access to electricity. (Photo by TARSO SARRAF / AFP) (Photo by TARSO SARRAF/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite this commitment from federal officials, Montana’s Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte on April 13 issued an executive order banning the “state-sponsored development and required use of so-called vaccine passports.” The state is also close to enacting legislation advanced by its state Legislature that would prohibit employers from requiring vaccinations as a condition of employment.

The bill “makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for a person or governmental entity to deny services, goods, privileges, licensing, educational opportunities or employment opportunities based on vaccination status or whether someone has an immunity passport,” according to the AP. But after being advanced to Gianforte for his signature, the bill was sent back by the governor with an amendment that exempts nursing homes and long-term care facilities from the measure’s provisions and allows health care facilities “to ask employees to volunteer information about their vaccination status, to consider employees who don’t volunteer that information to be unvaccinated, and to implement policies specific to unvaccinated staff, patients and visitors that are designed to protect against the spread of communicable diseases,” according to the Montana Free Press. Both the state’s House and Senate later approved the amended bill, clearing the way for Gianforte’s final signature, the outlet reported.

Attempts to ban COVID-19 vaccine requirements are common among states. Overall, at least 32 bills have been introduced across 25 states that “would limit mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for students, employees or generally,” according to a recent memo from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Most of the measures are pending and some – including bills in Virginia and Wyoming – have failed, but one will soon become law in Utah. Starting on May 5, the state Legislature’s House Bill 308, similar to the legislation in Arkansas and Montana, will prohibit “a government entity from directly or indirectly requiring an individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use as a condition of employment or attendance at events that are hosted or sponsored by a government entity,” according to the NCSL.

Bills in a handful of states – such as Alabama, Minnesota and South Carolina – refer to a so-called COVID-19 Vaccine Bill of Rights, which “prohibits mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations and prohibits businesses from requiring any person to receive COVID-19 vaccines,” the NCSL also found. Several other states have introduced legislation that aims to “prohibit mandatory vaccines generally,” says Mick Bullock, the public affairs director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

But some states are going the other way on COVID-19 vaccine requirements. At least two – Hawaii and New York – have considered legislation “that would support or allow the use of coronavirus vaccine records or ‘passports’ in some capacity,” according to the NCSL. Hawaii Gov. David Ige, a Democrat, on April 20 unveiled a program that allows individuals who have been fully vaccinated in the state to bypass pre-travel testing and/or quarantine requirements when traveling within the state, according to a news release. Hawaii’s state Legislature previously considered a similar measure, according to the NCSL.

Inoculation against COVID-19 continues to ramp up across America. As of April 28, at least 43% of the population have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data compiled and analyzed by USAFacts. The CDC later reported on Thursday that 30% of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated.

Satellites Show World’s Glaciers Melting Faster Than Ever

Ice sheets are liquefying quicker, losing 31% more snow and ice each year than they completed 15 years sooner, as indicated by three-dimensional satellite estimations of all the world’s mountain icy masses.

Researchers fault human-caused environmental change.

Utilizing 20 years of as of late declassified satellite information, researchers determined that the world’s 220,000 mountain icy masses are losing in excess of 328 billion tons (298 billion metric huge loads) of ice and snow each year since 2015, as indicated by an examination in Wednesday’s diary Nature. That is sufficient soften streaming into the world’s rising seas to put Switzerland under right around 24 feet (7.2 meters) of water every year.

The yearly soften rate from 2015 to 2019 is 78 billion additional tons (71 billion metric tons) a year than it was from 2000 to 2004. Worldwide diminishing rates, unique in relation to volume of water lost, multiplied over the most recent 20 years and “that is tremendous,” said Romain Hugonnet, a glaciologist at ETH Zurich and the University of Toulouse in France who drove the investigation.

A large portion of the world’s chilly misfortune is coming from the United States and Canada.

Gold country’s liquefy rates are “among the most noteworthy on earth,” with the Columbia icy mass withdrawing around 115 feet (35 meters) a year, Hugonnet said.

Practically every one of the world’s icy masses are dissolving, even ones in Tibet that used to be steady, the examination found. Aside from a couple in Iceland and Scandinavia that are taken care of by expanded precipitation, the dissolve rates are speeding up around the world.

The close uniform softening “reflects the worldwide expansion in temperature” and is from the consuming of coal, oil and gas, Hugonnet said. Some more modest icy masses are vanishing completely. Two years prior, researchers, activists and government authorities in Iceland held a memorial service for a little icy mass.

“Ten years prior, we were saying that the ice sheets are the pointer of environmental change, yet now really they’ve become a dedication of the environment emergency,” said World Glacier Monitoring Service Director Michael Zemp, who wasn’t essential for the examination.

The investigation is quick to utilize this 3D satellite symbolism to analyze the entirety of Earth’s ice sheets not associated with ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctic. Past examinations either just utilized a small portion of the ice sheets or assessed the deficiency of Earth’s glacial masses utilizing gravity estimations from circle. Those gravity readings have enormous safety buffers and aren’t as valuable, Zemp said.

Ohio State University’s Lonnie Thompson said the new investigation painted an “disturbing picture.”

Contracting icy masses are an issue for a large number of individuals who depend on occasional cold dissolve for every day water and quick liquefying can cause destructive upheavals from frigid lakes in places like India, Hugonnet said.

However, the biggest danger is ocean level ascent. The world’s seas are as of now rising on the grounds that warm water extends and due to dissolving ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, however icy masses are answerable for 21% of ocean level ascent, more than the ice sheets, the investigation said. The ice sheets are bigger longer term dangers for ocean level ascent.

“It’s turning out to be progressively certain that ocean level ascent will be a greater and more pressing issue as we travel through the 21st century,” said National Snow and Ice Data Center Director Mark Serreze.…