Rep. Carlson’s HB702 has passed its second reading in the Montana House of Representatives and is slated to move to the third and final reading
Although a similar measure, HB415, failed the Montana House prior to transmittal, Carlson’s new attempt to protect Montanans from discrimination against those choosing not to vaccinate has passed its second reading by an overwhelming margin of 66-34.
Unsurprisingly, Rep. Geraldine Custer (“R”-HD39), who runs on the Republican ticket to mock and confuse her constituents, voted against the bill with her Democrat colleagues. Currently, Custer has a 66% in party loyalty from the impartial scoring system, Legislator Loyalty. The F-score is worse than every other Republican legislator, except for Rep. Brian Putnam (“R”-HD9).
With the exception of Custer, Republicans enthusiastically threw their support behind the bill, which is available here. Its short title is, An Act Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Vaccination Status; Prohibiting the Use of Immunity Passports.”
The bill prohibits, “a person or a governmental entity to refuse, withhold from, or deny to a person any local or state services, goods, facilities, advantages, privileges, licensing, educational opportunities, health care access, or employment opportunities based on the person’s vaccination status or whether the person has an immunity passport…”
Thanks to Rep. Carlson and the Republicans who passed this bill on to the third reading, and those who will pass it forward to the Senate. It is unknown if Governor Gianforte will pass the bill, as conservatives are concerned that executives with both Phizer and Merck vaccine manufacturers are on his COVID-19 task force. Time will tell.