Sen. Rick Brattin’s Capitol Report for the Week of March 29: Saying “No” to Vaccine Passports

You may have read about or watched a report recently about the state of New York creating the first-in-the-nation “vaccine passport.” For those who don’t know what this is, it’s a written record or electronic app that shows proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Without such proof, someone could be prevented from moving freely about or engaging in activities like getting on a plane, going into a movie theater or eating dinner at a restaurant. New York isn’t alone in this. Hawaii is requiring COVID-19 tests be given to all travelers and is considering using an app that would display a person’s vaccination status, and the nation of Denmark has begun implementing a vaccine passport as well. Before it’s all said and done, other countries and states in our country will likely follow suit.

Now, I don’t have a problem — nor do most Missourians — with anyone getting the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s a decision each person can make for themselves in a free and open society where personal liberty and individual rights are the overriding and guiding force of our laws. But, vaccine passports are the opposite of free and open. These passports prevent people from moving freely, from doing the things we have always been able to do. In my opinion, these passports are a violation of our rights and individual liberties, and instead of taking the wait-and-see approach only to have this done under our nose, we need to fight it now. We need to fight proactively, before it is imposed on us by big business and others who think government is the answer to every problem. We should heed President Reagan’s advice that “the most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

Beyond the concerns of government asking us to “show your papers,” what does government intend to do with all the information they’ll collect from a vaccine database? Will they sell it to businesses so they’ll know who to let in their doors or will it go into a government database that will be turned against the people like the IRS did during the Obama administration? That’s a scary thought and one that all Missourians, regardless of how they feel about the vaccine, should be ready to fight back against.

The Missouri Senate took a big first step in that fight this week. During debate on a transportation bill, an amendment was added that would prevent any Missourian from being required to receive a vaccine or prove they’ve received a vaccine before getting on a plane, riding a bus or taking any other form of public transportation. I rose to speak on this amendment and strongly encouraged my colleagues to pass it. As I mentioned above, free movement is an essential component of a free society and ensuring our citizens can continue that free movement is the first and arguably most important step toward stopping these vaccine passports. The amendment was added and the bill will soon be voted out of the Senate and will head to the House of Representatives.

This amendment is by no means the last or only step though. As more bills come before the Senate, I’ll be looking for any opportunity to prevent these vaccine passports, especially when it comes to doing things like going freely in and out of businesses such as restaurants and sporting venues. These vaccine passports smack of totalitarianism and run completely counter to the Constitution upon which this country was founded. People can decide for themselves if they should be vaccinated and whether they do or don’t is none of the government’s business. We’ll beat this virus and we’ll come back stronger than ever. It won’t be because government decides where you can go and what you can do but because we remember what has made this country the greatest on Earth, our God-given right to life and liberty.

If you have any ideas, questions and concern, please feel free to contact me at the State Capitol: (573) 751-2108, or by writing to Sen. Rick Brattin, Missouri State Capitol, Room 331, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

God bless and thank you for the opportunity to work for you in the Missouri Senate.