The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022

Riedel votes for Medical Freedom Plan

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — The Ohio House of Representatives has approved a COVID-19 medical freedom plan that protects workers and students from vaccine mandates, and bans vaccine passports.

State Representative Craig S. Riedel (R-Defiance), who represents Ohio’s 82nd District, voted in favor of the Ohio Medical Freedom Plan, known as House Bill (HB) 218.

Craig Riedel

“House Bill 218 is a thorough and comprehensive bill that protects the rights of Ohioans,” Riedel said. “In our communities and across the state, the message was clear: Ohioans want a clear, balanced and unambiguous plan on this important and deeply personal issue.”

The bill ensures most Ohioans would be able to refuse mandated COVID-19 vaccinations by claiming an exemption for medical reasons, natural immunity as demonstrated by the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, and reasons of personal conscience including religious convictions.

Those same exemptions would also be available for students and employees at Ohio’s public and private schools, colleges and universities. A written statement claiming the exemption is all that would be required for
students and employees to receive the exemption. The bill also allows for a student or employee to seek relief in the event of a violation, including going to court or filing an employment discrimination claim.

Additionally, the bill bans vaccine passport requirements from being imposed for entry into a public building or private business.

“I believe no one should be forced to be vaccinated no matter what type of inoculation. It should always be a personal choice,” Reidel said. “House Bill 218 protects individual freedom when it comes to COVID-19.”

The bill also prohibits public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities from discriminating against a student based on their vaccination status while in a school setting or on school property.

Other elements of the bill include:

  • Employees of a children’s hospital, an intensive care or critical care unit of a hospital, would not be able to receive a vaccine exemption, under the bill. However, a hospital must make a good faith attempt to provide equitable employment to an individual who refuses to get a vaccine.
  • Schools and employers would be prohibited from requiring a student or employee to receive a vaccine if it has not been issued a biologics license or otherwise been granted full approval by the FDA.
  • Extends through June 2023 provisions from House Bill 606 (133rd General Assembly) that would protect employers from COVID-19 liability under certain circumstances.

House Bill 218 is now before the Ohio Senate for consideration.

POSTED: 11/20/21 at 1:25 am. FILED UNDER: News