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Newly revised amendment introduced to Health Care Right of Conscience Act, no immediate effective date

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021

* Amendment 3 to SB1169

Violations related to COVID-19 requirements. It is not a violation of this Act for any person or public official, or for any public or private association, agency, corporation, entity, institution, or employer, to take any measures or impose any requirements, including, but not limited to, any measures or requirements that involve provision of services by a physician or health care personnel, intended to prevent contraction or transmission of COVID-19 or any pathogens that result in COVID-19 or any of its subsequent iterations.

It is not a violation of this Act to enforce such measures or requirements. This Section is a declaration of existing law and shall not be construed as a new enactment. Accordingly, this Section shall apply to all actions commenced or pending on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly. Nothing in this Section is intended to affect any right or remedy under federal law.

* Compare that to the original version

The Health Care Right of Conscience Act is amended by adding Section 13.5 as follows:

Violations related to COVID-19 requirements. It is not a violation of this Act for any person or public official, or for any public or private association, agency, corporation, entity, institution, or employer, to take any measures or impose any requirements, including, but not limited to, any measures or requirements that involve provision of services by a physician or health care personnel, intended to prevent contraction or transmission of COVID-19 or any pathogens that result in COVID-19 or any of its subsequent iterations.

It is not a violation of this Act to enforce such measures or requirements, including by terminating employment or excluding individuals from a school, a place of employment, or public or private premises in response to noncompliance. This Section is a declaration of existing law and shall not be construed as a new enactment. Accordingly, this Section shall apply to all actions commenced or pending on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly. Nothing in this Section is intended to affect any right or remedy under federal law.

The highlighted words were removed from the newly revised version.

Thoughts?

…Adding… Very good point from a commenter…

Also deleted was the immediate effective date.

That means it’ll only need 60 votes. Subscribers know what the next option could be.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

22 Comments
  1. - Norseman - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 11:16 am:

    You find a bomb and your answer is to move it to another location? This is horrible.


  2. - Fan of the Game - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 11:18 am:

    The removal of that language makes it more palatable, of course. The statute should not include actions which an employer might take. However, this deletion of language may be too little too late. The damage has likely already been done.


  3. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 11:21 am:

    Seems to me it says the same thing in fewer words.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 11:21 am:

    Why even have the amendment… no teeth to the change makes this even less than weak sauce.

    “We did something” type of amendment?


  5. - howie - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 11:24 am:

    ” It is not a violation of this Act for any person or public official, or for any public or private association, agency, corporation, entity, institution, or employer, to take any measures or impose any requirements, including, but not limited to…”

    Seems to me the new language still allows for termination from employment without saying it. I don’t see a difference from the original language as it pertains to actions taken against one who chooses not to get the shots.


  6. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 11:26 am:

    I read it a bit differently than some of my fellow posters.

    =It is not a violation of this Act to enforce such measures or requirements.=

    To me, that sounds like enforcement is left to the employer. I like that, the less I am boxed in the more authority I have to deal with non-compliant employees.


  7. - DirtLawyer - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 11:26 am:

    Craven. The earlier version was better. This creates more potential ambiguity for the antivax crowd by removing the language.


  8. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 11:26 am:

    That’s a ‘Well we tried’ change. Resolves nothing.


  9. - DTAG - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 11:29 am:

    How many people need to die for these anti-vaxers to get a clue. These people have blood (figuratively) on their hands, and to extend that craziness to oppose testing as well, these people are horrible. How many people have to die for it to be real to these people.


  10. - Pundent - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 11:33 am:

    I’m not sure if the initial language was in fact needed. It’s removal doesn’t prevent employers or schools from enforcing the requirements. But if the goal is to appease those that wish to use the act as reason not to get vaccinated, it will accomplish nothing.


  11. - JJJJJJJJJJ - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 11:39 am:

    I like others see no real difference between the two versions. Besides perhaps the possibility of tricking people into thinking the new version is substantively different? Whatever works I guess.


  12. - Norseman - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 12:01 pm:

    Seriously, this is a horrible amendment that makes me question the quality of the lawyers who drafted it. This law is being used as an attack on mandated vaccinations. Now lawyers can argue the intent doesn’t apply to vaccinations. By making an exception for COVID, existing and future mandates will be jeopardized.

    Don’t kid yourselves, the crazies are not going to stop with COVID.

    IDPH, wake up your lawyers and start thinking about the efficacy of our public health system with this proposal.


  13. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 12:16 pm:

    Does the law preempt collective bargaining so that unionized employees may be required to submit? If so, does the Governor intend to use the law to enforce his vaccine mandate without further negotiations or contract sweeteners?


  14. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 12:16 pm:

    @Norseman

    “There are no final solutions.” - Speaker Madigan

    Also, when they say “this section is a declaration of existing law” they are making it clear this does not modify the underlying intent.

    If someone gets pulled over and says they are gonna refuse a breathalyzer under the HCRCA, I suppose we’ll see them and their lawyer in court.

    I hope it happens soon, it would be a great test case for this expansive view of “health care provider.”


  15. - Inquiring Minds - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 12:24 pm:

    Also deleted was the immediate effective date.


  16. - Cornerfield - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 12:28 pm:

    I’m far from an expert in these matters, but it seems like the HCRCA was a loosely written act to address a very specific concern (allow for conscientious objection to abortion issues). But since it was written so loosely, it is now being used (arguably incorrectly) by some to skirt the COVID-19 vaccination requirements. To me it seems illogical to write a very specific amendment as a knee jerk attempt to stop that. What about if COVID-20, or “The Andromeda Strain”, etc. comes along? Would they have to make a new amendment each time a new pandemic arises?

    Another concern was already pointed out by Norseman. This finely targeted amendment could open the door for others to more easily use the HCRCA to get out of all sorts of other things like already accepted vaccines as well as future vaccines.

    Maybe they should, instead, write a loosely written amendment concerning pandemics and public health in general, or write an amendment that more clearly defines that the only intent of the original act was to do with the abortion issues.


  17. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 12:43 pm:

    === Thoughts? ===

    If it removes oppositoon and gets them to 71, or lowers the 5hreshold to 60, its a good change.


  18. - Kyle’s mom - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 1:28 pm:

    A lawyer might reasonably argue that the revised version is actually more broad than the prior version.


  19. - Trying to be Rational - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 1:32 pm:

    I was reading the Mayo website last night and it listed Illinois as having fully vaccinated 83% of people 65+. I thought that was pretty good until I noticed the ranking, Illinois is 47th among the 50 states in getting the 65+ high risk group fully vaccinated. Illinois ranks behind Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, etc. Heck, Florida has fully vaccinated 92% of its 65+ population. Why is Illinois behind Mississippi?

    I also note the top 3 states were Maine, Vermont, and Rhode Island, each having fully vaccinated 99.9% of their 65+ population.


  20. - thechampaignlife - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 3:10 pm:

    === It is not a violation of this Act for any person…to take any measures or impose any requirements…intended to prevent contraction or transmission of COVID-19…===

    Is it just me, or does this open them up to criticism that anyone could impose any mandate whatsoever, no matter how poorly grounded in science, so long as they can reasonably claim that they intend it to prevent COVID? So a nutty employer could require their staff to consume vitamin D and ivermectin daily? This just seems too loose of language, given what the DeVores of the world and their judicial enablers are doing to thwart public health at every step.

    ===Also deleted was the immediate effective date.===

    So it is not effective until June 1, 2022? Is the hope that judges will use this as a guide until then, since it is a “declaration of existing law”? I would not count on it. The judges who are granting these TROs will gladly ignore this amendment until next June, and perhaps even beyond that.


  21. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 4:58 pm:

    @TheChampaignLife

    === is it just me ===

    People who want to criticize mandates are, as noted, claiming they are made of crack cocaine or something. So I wouldn’t worry to much about whether the language opens them to criticism, because The Critics feel free to just make stuff up.

    Is the criticism legitimate? No.

    The language merely says that HCRCA doesn’t prohibit COVID interventions. Those interventions may still be prohibited by state or federal law or by contract.

    That said, Illinois is an at-will state, so employers already have pretty broad discretion.

    If Darren Bailey wants to propose legislation to and at-will employment in Illinois, joining Florida, Georgia, New York and others, he should.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 27, 21 @ 6:27 pm:

    === i read people saying its left up to the employer.. my god wake up people… no employer should make it a requirement to keep a job===

    You’re against employers providing a healthy workplace? That’s an odd take

    ===wake up people…===

    Get sick enough at work, you might never wake up again.


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