Rep. Barry Usher, the member of the Montana House of Representatives representing District 40, (R) continues to be a vocal and outspoken supporter of bill 702, despite the heat he’s getting from Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton.
House Bill 702 is unique in that Montana is the only state in the union that has passed a bill prohibiting vaccine discrimination and making it illegal for a company to force its employees to get vaccinated under threat of termination. At a time when tens of thousands of people and health care workers are being forced to quit their jobs in other states rather than violate their consciences, this is a godsend and likely the most important bill of the session.
This bill has naturally drawn the ire of Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton, who has taken to the pages of KTVC to vent his concerns that this bill puts Montana in direct conflict with the CDC, and should never have been passed.
“It (Bill 702) takes away the best carrot we had to get people vaccinated. If we follow CDC guidelines we violate state law, and if we follow state law we’re violating CDC guidelines…the CDC tells us that a fully vaccinated person who is exposed so they’re not ill, they’re in close contact, those people do not need to quarantine. An unvaccinated person who has a close contact needs to quarantine. So that’s what the science tells us, and that could potentially be in conflict with the law.”
“Healthcare organizations have required hepatitis and MMR vaccines for years and years, and a number of places require influenza vaccine like we do,” Felton said. “But at this point, we can’t do any of these.”
This is a HUGE victory for freedom-minded Montanans! To not be forced anymore to receive vaccines against their will, employees are now able to exercise their right of ‘bodily autonomy’ a right declared to all Montanans under the Montana State Constitution.
The President of the Montana Medical Association, Dr. Pamela Cutler, was apocalyptic in her rhetoric about the possibility that some doctors and nurses may not want to get vaccinated.
“This is against everything we’ve ever known or believed about public health. I believe it’s a travesty now and it needs to be fixed so that we can make our offices safe for patients and our coworkers.”
House Bill 702 doesn’t only apply to COVID, but other vaccines as well. In some states, vaccinations are required to attend school, and Republican lawmakers are looking to safeguard against any possible discrimination in any form. Rep Usher explains:
“Before COVID even came around, this bill was already written because there were people who were being discriminated against…It’s one of the biggest bills we passed this session. It’s really about freedom of choice, and liberty rights.”
Based on his conviction, Usher continues to publicly respond to any articles critical of the bill, writing on Facebook:
It’s nice to see a politician stand behind his vote in such a public and pointed way, despite the criticism, and we applaud and thank Rep Usher for it.