Illinois Senate sends HCRCA COVID-19 clarification bill to Pritzker

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 11:30 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Democratic lawmakers in both chambers sided with Gov. JB Pritzker on the COVID-19 Health Care Right of Conscience Act argument.

The Illinois Senate voted 31-24 to approve the proposal late Thursday night. This measure passed out of the House on a 64-52-2 vote Wednesday.

Many people have used the health care law as a way to get out of the recent COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandates for teachers and certain state employees.

The Pritzker administration and many Democrats believe people misinterpreted the law in order to file lawsuits against them. This bill clarifies the initial intent of the law.

Thousands of people across Illinois filed witness slips in opposition to the bill this week.

Health Care Right of Conscience Act argument
Health Care Right of Conscience Act argument(WGEM)

“Now the government is saying we don’t care what you think. We don’t care because we know better than you,” said Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet). “We’re smarter than you. We’re just going to tell you what to think. Why do you think there is 55,000 people that filed a thing? Because they don’t like being told what to think.”

Senate Republican staff brought massive piles of paper out onto the floor to show what those witnesses would’ve looked like in person. However, Democrats still consider them a vocal minority in the state.

“I wish we didn’t have to take this bill up,” said Senate President Don Harmon. “I wish that what my church describes as a gift of kindness to our neighbors hadn’t been so politicized and become so tribal.”

The legislation now heads to Pritzker’s desk for his signature of approval. The governor noted this plan clarifies the existing law’s intent without infringing on federal protections.

“Ultimately, this means we can keep kids in school, businesses open, neighbors safe, and continue on the path to bring this pandemic to an end,” Pritzker said.

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