Action Alert: Two Bills Would Limit Authority of KDHE on Regulating Vaccinations
Kansas bill SB 212 would weaken the ability of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) from regulating important rules in regards to vaccine regulations. Similar to Kansas Bill HB 2601 from the 2019-2020 session, this bill would limit the authority of the KDHE in determining important safety measures for students in public education. With the introduction of SB 212, vaccine regulation would be authorized by the state legislature, which meets four months out of the year and lacks necessary background and medical expertise to determine appropriate action. Along with this language, Kansas Bill SB 212 would limit KDHE’s authority in regulating vaccination during statewide public health emergencies (i.e. COVID-19). As of February 11, this bill has been referred to the Committee on Public Health.
Action Needed Now: Please reach out to members of the Senate Health Committee now with the following message:
- SB 212 removes decision-making authority from vaccination experts and places it with the political body. Being able to react to disease based on science and timeliness is essential to preventing the spread of disease. Vaccination is science not politics.
- The COVID-19 pandemic only reinforces the importance of public health in retaining its authority to regulate vaccines in a way that serves all Kansans based upon best practices rooted in science and facts.
- Please vote “no” on SB 212 and maintain the vaccination structure that works for Kansas.
Senate Committee on Public Health
Chair: Sen. Richard Hilderbrand
Vice Chair: Sen. Beverly Gossage
Ranking Minority Member: Sen. Pat Pettey
Sen. Kristen O’Shea
Sen. Mark Steffen (Bill Sponsor)
Kansas bill SB 213 would prohibit an employer from taking action against employees who choose not to vaccinate. This bill would limit the types of mandates that companies in Kansas could place on employees who don’t choose to vaccinate. This bill is particularly problematic for hospitals and local health departments as vaccination is a contingency of employment to protect patients from vaccine preventable diseases. As of February 11, this bill has been referred to the Committee on Commerce.
Action Needed Now: Please contact Senators on the Senate Commerce Committee with the following message:
- SB 213 infringes on the rights of employers to protect the health of their employees by requiring vaccination, potentially putting all workers at risk.
- SB 213 ignores and dilutes vaccination standards that have eradicated outbreaks for generations of workers.
- SB 213 ignores the necessity of certain employers, such as hospitals and public health departments that must require vaccination as a contingency of employment to protect patients.
- Please vote “no” on SB 213 and protect the rights of workers to avoid preventable disease in the workplace, along with the customers they serve.
Senate Committee on Commerce
Chair: Sen. Robert Olson
Vice Chair: Sen. Mark Steffen (Bill Sponsor)
Ranking Minority Member: Sen. Tom Holland
Hearings are imminent. Nurture KC (MAIC) will keep you updated with an additional action alert when hearings our scheduled. It is important that Nurture KC, including members of the Mid America Immunization Coalition (MAIC) and our valued partners, provide testimony informing the committee of the importance of retaining the current process on immunization regulations. Most of all, please reach out to your legislators and discuss the importance of vaccination and the KDHE in preventing disease.
Director of Community Initiatives, MAIC