South Carolina lawmakers call on governor to ban ‘vaccine passports’

Lawmakers asked governor to ‘do everything in your power’ to ban ‘vaccine passports’

South Carolina Republicans in the House have sent a letter to the Palmetto State’s governor calling on him to ban the implementation of “vaccine passports” in the state.

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., led his fellow South Carolina GOP House colleagues in a letter to Republican Gov. Henry McMaster over the weekend asking him to ban requiring COVID-19 vaccine credentials for citizens going about their daily business.

Duncan and the group asked the governor to “do everything in your power under the law to prohibit ‘vaccine passports’ from being required to enter, enjoy and move about our beautiful state.”

“The use of ‘vaccine passports’ to restrict commerce is a threat to both personal liberty and medical privacy,” the lawmakers wrote. “We are committed to fighting this violation at the federal level, and we urge you to do the same by working with Attorney General [Alan] Wilson at the state level.”

The group wrote that they believe that requiring citizens in the state to provide vaccine passports to go about their business “constitutes a violation of the privacy of our citizens, and specifically a likely violation of the federal HIPAA law.”

They also wrote that the “privacy concerns” surrounding vaccine passports could “create more polarization around the COVID-19 vaccine” instead of convincing more people to get the shot, “impeding efforts to achieve herd immunity and prolonging the pandemic.”

“As we see it, ‘vaccine passports’ are a terrible approach to managing this pandemic or the economy, and instead will violate the rights of our citizens,” the lawmakers wrote. “We urge you to fight against this with every tool of state government, including preventing state agencies from cooperating or coordinating with the federal government on the use of potential ‘vaccine passports.’”

“Vaccine passports are both a threat to our personal liberty AND our medical privacy,” Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., wrote on Twitter. She also signed the letter to McMaster. 

Duncan and Mace were joined by three South Carolina Republican colleagues – Reps. Ralph Norman, Joe Wilson and William Timmons – who signed the letter. Republican Rep. Tom Rice and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, the state’s only Democratic member of Congress, did not.

When asked for comment by Fox News, McMaster’s office pointed to a tweet the governor had published a day before the letter was sent in which he railed against “vaccine passports” and declared the practice “will have no place in South Carolina.”

“President Biden and the Democrats want to force Americans to present a ‘vaccine passport’ upon demand, yet they oppose presenting an ID to cast a vote,” wrote McMaster. “Vaccine passports will have no place in South Carolina.”

“The very idea is un-American to its core,” the governor added.

The representatives’ letter comes after Florida Gov, Ron DeSantis, a Republican, banned vaccine passports in the Sunshine State via executive order last week.

Specifically, Florida businesses are not allowed to require customers or patrons to produce “documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business.”

Additionally, Florida government agencies are prohibited from using “vaccine passports” and other kinds of certification as well as sharing or publishing a person’s “COVID-19 vaccination record or similar health information.”

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