Special Session 2021
A special session was called for by Governor Beshear and began on Tuesday, September 7. Topics that are considered during the special session must conform to the items enumerated in the Governor's proclamation. So far, a small handful of bills and joint resolutions have been filed, as well as a number of floor amendments.
Currently, identical bills have been filed in both the House and the Senate. Below, we will start with what we think are the BEST medical freedom amendments that stand a chance of passing. You need to contact your Senator about the Senate bills and your Representative about the House bills IMMEDIATELY. Both chambers are moving very quickly and waving rules that normally cause the process to take longer.
Ask your STATE REPRESENTATIVE to VOTE YES on the following Floor Amendment:
Floor Amendment 1 to HB 3 by Rep. Maddox. This amendment would prohibit COVID relief funding under this bill to any entity (healthcare, long-term care, or school system) that mandates vaccines without permitting an exemption for conscientious objection.
The below Senate Amedments are now dead.
Ask your STATE SENATOR to VOTE YES on the following Floor Amendments: Floor Amendment 4 to SB2 by Sen. Southworth. This amendment says that a health facility cannot require employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine unless the policy allows for medical, religious, or conscientious objection exemptions Floor Amendment 6 to SB2 by Sen. West. This amendment requires ANY employer who mandates a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment to provide the employee with medical, religious, and conscientious objections exemptions. Floor Amendment 7 to SB2 by Sen. West. - This amendment prohibits state-funded employers from requiring COVID-19 vaccines or disclosure of COVID-19 vaccination status as a condition of employment.
Click here for a sample email
Call the legislative message line at 1-800-372-7181 and ask to leave the following messages:
For your STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Vote YES on HFA 1 to HB3
What we have listed above represents what we think are the BEST amendments that stand the BEST chance of passing. There are other medical freedom related amendments and measures, which we will do our best to summarize below.
Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 3- Alvarado
A JOINT RESOLUTION establishing that the Commonwealth of Kentucky will recognize a positive COVID-19 antibody test as equivalent to having been vaccinated against COVID-19 and declaring an emergency.
This is a bill dealing with schools and childcare centers. This bill has an entire section devoted to marketing vaccines to children at school with bribes.
“Section 7. Each school district may develop a plan to incentivize staff and students to receive COVID-19 vaccinations and may work with the local health department and other partners to provide access to receive vaccinations and incentives. Incentives may include but are not limited to cash and other prizes, food, gift cards, prize drawings, coupons, and school activity passes. A school district shall not use intimidation tactics or negative incentives to encourage vaccinations.”
Amendments for the Senate Version, SB1 - ALL SENATE AMENDMENTS ON SB1 ARE DEAD
There are some floor amendments that only deal with masking. For our purposes, we are focusing on amendments that deal with vaccination.
SFA1- Castlen- prohibit mask mandates and delete the entire bribery section (section 7). There doesn’t seem to be any appetite in the legislature to completely ban masks, so we think this amendment is DOA.
SFA 7 – Southworth - This amendment deletes the bribery section and states that a school district cannot require and student or staff member to receive a COVID vaccine, and the school cannot use any bribery to encourage vaccination. While we support this amendment, we don’t think the legislature will be willing to outright ban schools from ever requiring COVID vaccines.
Amendments to the House Version, HB1
HFA 2 – Rabourn – Deletes the bribery section and says schools may not use bribery. School districts or other governmental entities must allow for medical, religious, and conscientious objection exemptions for all persons. This would extend the current school exemptions that apply to students to apply to faculty and staff, and would also add conscientious objection exemptions for students. “Other governmental entities” is not defined in this bill, and looks as if it could have meaning beyond just school based entities.
HFA 4 – Rabourn – says that the proposed “test to stay” programs for schools cannot discriminate based on vaccine status, i.e. vaccinated and non-vaccinated persons would be treated the same in terms of contact tracing, quarantining, etc.
This bill covers a number of things related to healthcare, including creating provisions for a designated visitor to be able to visit residents in a long term care facility; calls for creation of centers to administer monoclonal antibodies around the state; requiring Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) to assist hospitals, licensed health care providers, jails, prisons, homeless shelters, local health departments, and other entities in acquiring and distributing COVID tests; requiring CHFS to partner with colleges and health care organizations to create public service announcements about COVID vaccination; and more.
Amendments to the Senate version, SB2- ALL SENATE AMENDMENTS ON SB2 ARE DEAD
SFA1 – Southworth – adds that the PSAs will also include information on immune health, early treatment options for symptoms of COVID-19 including antibody treatment options, and antibody testing
SFA 2 – Southworth – Establish patient rights for those being treated for COVID 19, including right to deny any procedure or treatment, have patient’s personal physician visit you in the hospital and prescribe medication to you, honor and administer the patient’s choice of medication, pharmacists can and must fill prescriptions for off-label use of drugs to treat COVID, allow hospital visitation by family or legal representation. While this is a great amendment, we don’t think it stands a change of passage. It duplicates some existing laws, and we think the hospital lobby will push back against allowing outside physicians to visit patients in a medical capacity.
SFA 3 – Southworth – Adds a temporary provision (until December 31, 2022) that a health facility, shall not implement or enforce a policy requiring its employees to receive an immunization for COVID-19 unless the policy allows an employee to be exempt from the immunization requirement on the basis of a written statement signed by the employee declaring a medical, religious, or conscientious objection. We think this amendment could pass, but would only be temporary. SFA 4 below is even better.
SFA 4 – Southworth - A health facility cannot implement or enforce a policy requiring its employees to receive an immunization for COVID-19 unless the policy allows an employee to be exempt from the immunization requirement on the basis of a written statement signed by the employee declaring a medical, religious, or conscientious objection. No expiration date. We think this amendment could stand a good chance of passing.
SFA 5 – West - prohibit employers from discriminating against an individual who declines COVID-19 immunization, prohibits requiring COVID-19 immunization as a condition of employment, prohibits inquiring as to the employee's COVID-19 immunization status; prohibit an employer from requiring an employee or applicant for employment to be immunized from COVID-19 or inquiring regarding COVID-19 immunization status. This would apply to ALL businesses, not just healthcare. While this is an excellent amendment, many members of the legislature have stated that they do not want to prohibit businesses from being able to mandate vaccines.
SFA 6 – West - Require any employer who mandates a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment to provide the employee with medical, religious, and conscientious objections exemptions, and this must be disclosed when the offer of employment is made; the amendment also specifies the exact language the employer may use. The employee is responsible for providing info to go along with the exemption, and the employer cannot require additional documentation. This is an excellent amendment that could pass.
SFA 7 – West - prohibit state-funded employers from requiring COVID-19 immunization or disclosure of COVID-19 vaccination status as a condition of employment This is another good amendment that stands a chance of passing.
Amendments to the House version, HB2
SFA 3 – Baker – If visitation by the designated long term care visitor from is conditioned on vaccination for COVID-19, then conscientious objection exemptions must be provided for; require COVID-19 antibody treatments to be permitted for children under age 12 when approved; prohibit provision of COVID-19 tests to entities that require vaccination; add that COVID-19 vaccine mandates for any university, college, or health care organization are not authorized by this bill (not prohibiting them, just not authorizing them either). There is a lot packed into this amendment, making it less likely that it could pass.
SB3 & HB3 - AN ACT relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, making an appropriation therefor, and declaring an emergency. This bill deals with distribution of federal COVID relief funds to healthcare, long-term care, and school systems.
HFA 1 – Maddox – Prohibit funding to any entity that has a policy in effect on or after September 24, 2021 requiring an immunization without permitting an exemption for conscientious objection and entities that terminate or discipline persons for objecting to an immunization on the basis of conscientious objection; require a private right of action to enforce these provisions; exempt long-term care facilities under a federal mandatory vaccine directive. This is an excellent amendment that we think can pass.