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Governor vetoes coronavirus privacy bill

Inslee: HB 1127 could impede offering freebies in exchange for vaccination proof

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed a health information privacy bill Tuesday, May 18, because it may impede efforts to “incentivize” coronavirus vaccinations.

House Bill 1127 – sponsored by Rep. Virginia “Jenny” Graham, R-Spokane, and others – would have provided increased protections for a person’s private health care information collected by non-health care providers and facilities under coronavirus protocols.

Gov. Inslee called the language of the bill “very broad,” suggesting it would impede efforts to encourage residents to get a coronavirus vaccine.

“This bill appears to prohibit efforts by public and private entities to offer incentives to become vaccinated or to make certain opportunities available to those persons who are vaccinated,” he said. “The current critical need is to incentivize every eligible person to become vaccinated.

The veto of the bill allows organizations and businesses to continue to require so-called “vaccine passports,” or proof of vaccination, in exchange for free admissions, gift cards, special access and areas, event tickets and other incentives and freebies.

The veto also means those organizations and businesses are not required to keep vaccine data confidential.

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA law, only requires health care providers, health insurance companies and clearing houses, and their health-business associates to keep such information confidential. It does not apply to non-healthcare related government agencies, businesses, non-profit agencies or others.

Other sponsors of the bill include Reps. Matt Boehnke, R-Kennewick, Dr. Vandana Slatter, D-Bellevue, Javier Valdez, D-Seattle, Shelly Kloba, D-Kirkland, Nicole Macri, D-Seattle, and Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle.

The bill passed the state House, 83-13, and the Senate, 28-20, before being vetoed by the governor.

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

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Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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