Bill Summary for H 558 (2021-2022)

Summary date: 

Apr 13 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 558 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 13, 2021
AN ACT MAKING IT UNLAWFUL IN THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA TO MANDATE VACCINATIONS AGAINST PARTICULAR ILLNESSES, INCLUDING COVID-19; TO REQUIRE PROOF OF VACCINATION OR PROOF OF IMMUNITY AGAINST COVID-19 OR OTHER ILLNESSES; TO DISCRIMINATE IN PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS, EMPLOYMENT, OR OTHERWISE ON THE BASIS OF VACCINATION STATUS, PROOF OF VACCINATION, OR PROOF OF IMMUNITY AGAINST COVID-19 AND OTHER ILLNESSES; TO MANDATE FORCED PARTICIPATION IN VACCINATION TRACKING SYSTEMS; AND TO REQUIRE A PATIENT TO WAIVE PRIVACY RIGHTS IN ORDER TO OBTAIN A VACCINATION.
Intro. by Pittman, Kidwell.

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Bill summary

Part I.

Enacts GS 166A-19.30(c1), barring the Governor from requiring or mandating that any person receive a vaccination by operation of executive order. Grants civil and criminal immunity to any person who refuses to receive a vaccination under the statute. Makes conforming changes. Applies to executive orders and directives issued on or after the date the date the act becomes law. 

Amends GS 166A-19.12 to limit the revisions of the NC Emergency Operations Plan concerning immunization procedures in accordance with new GS 166A-19.30(c1). 

Adds new subdivision (3a) to GS 150B-19 to prohibit State agencies from adopting a rule that imposes a mandate or requirement resulting in disciplinary action for a person who receives a vaccination as a condition of the receipt, renewal, or reinstatements of a license by an agency. Applies to proposed rules published in the NC Register and proposed rules on the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) on or after October 1, 2021.

Prohibits public health authorities, including the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the State Health Director, the Commission for Public Health, and local health directors, from issuing an order requiring any individual to submit to COVID-19 vaccination or series of vaccinations if such action is medically contradicted for the individual, or if receiving the vaccination or series of vaccinations is against the individual's religious or philosophical beliefs, as described in existing GS 130A-157 (religious exemption) and new GS 130A-157.5 (philosophical exemption). Extends the prohibition to the vaccination of minors if the minor's parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis holds religious or philosophical beliefs against the vaccination.

Part II.

Enacts GS 130A-157.5, establishing the right of a citizen to determine whether the individual, the individual's children, or anyone for whom the individual stands in loco parentis, will receive a vaccine to be a private right. Prohibits any requirement of a written statement of the moral, philosophical, or personal beliefs and opposition to the immunization requirements of the Chapter. Prohibits a question of whether an affected person has received an immunization be asked of anyone as a condition of attending any college, university, public or private school (K-12), or child care facility. Applies to any vaccination requirement imposed upon an adult or child by a college, university, public or private school, or child care facility on or after the date the act becomes law.

Part III.

Enacts GS 130A-158.5 to require each system used to track or record information about residents who have received specific vaccinations or a series of specific vaccinations to provide written, informed consent from each adult or minor's parent or guardian whose vaccination records and information are added to the system regarding the individual's participation and disclosure or sharing of information concerning the individual's vaccine record, status with respect to a specific vaccine or series, or refusal to receive a vaccine or series. Provides that this requirement is applicable to disclosures and sharing by the system, an individual's health care provider, and an individual's health insurer. Also requires such systems to provide an option for an adult or a minor's parent or guardian to withdraw previously granted consent triggering deletion of all the individual's vaccination records and other vaccination information from the system and all other filed maintained by the State agency responsible for the system.

Part IV.

Enacts GS 93B-8.1A, prohibiting an occupational licensing board or State agency licensing board (collectively "board") from denying an applicant a license on the applicant's vaccination history record, as defined. Prohibits boards from requiring applicants to submit documents containing medical information for the sole purpose of ascertaining an applicant's vaccination history record. Prohibits using any documents or information tending to show a vaccination record as the basis for denial of licensure. Prohibits taking any disciplinary action against a licensee based on the licensee's vaccination history record. Provides for an individual denied the issuance, reinstatement, or renewal of a license in violation of the statute to bring a civil action for injunctive relief, affirmative relief, issuance of the license, or any other appropriate relief. 

Enacts GS 131E-79.5 to prohibit licensed hospitals from refusing to provide health care services to a patient on the basis of the patient's vaccination history or because of the patient's refusal to receive a specific vaccination or series or provide proof of immunity to a specific disease. Enacts GS 131E-79.6 to prohibit licensed hospitals from denying, terminating, or suspending a physician's hospital privileges on the basis of the physician's vaccination history or because of the physician's refusal to receive a specific vaccination or series or provide proof of immunity to a specific disease. Prohibits discrimination or barring of admission, enrollment, or employment against medical residency program applicants or interns on the basis of the student's vaccination history or because of the student's refusal to receive a specific vaccination or series or provide proof of immunity to a specific disease. Prohibits termination of an internship or residency based on the intern or resident's refusal to receive a specific vaccination or a series or provide proof of immunity to a specific disease. Provides for these described persons to bring a civil action for violation of this statute against the licensed hospital for injunctive relief, appropriate affirmative relief as specified, or any other appropriate relief. Authorizes the court to award reasonable costs to the prevailing party. 

Enacts GS 131D-9.5 (concerning licensed adult care homes) and GS 131E-113.5 (concerning licensed nursing homes) to prohibit licensed adult care homes and nursing homes from refusing to admit an applicant or provide services to a resident of the respective facility on the basis of the applicant or resident's vaccination history or refusal to receive a specific vaccination or series or provide proof of immunity to a specific disease. 

Part V. 

Enacts GS 95-28.2A, making it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire, discharge, penalize, or otherwise discriminate against an individual with respect to compensation or the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment on the basis of the the individual's vaccination history or because of the individual's refusal to receive a vaccine or provide proof of immunity. Defines employer to mean the State and all political subdivisions of the State, public and quasi-public corporations, boards, bureaus, commissions, councils, and private employers. Allows employees and prospective employees to bring a civil action against an employer for violation of the statute for injunctive relief, appropriate affirmative relief as specified, an order of reinstatement as specified, an order directive the employer to offer employment as appropriate, and any other appropriate relief. Authorizes the court to award reasonable costs to the prevailing party. Provides for the statute to supersede any conflicting general laws, unless the general law provides a specific exemption to the statute by reference. 

Part VI. 

Enacts new GS 99D-1.5 that makes it a discriminatory practice to use an individual’s vaccination or immunity status to deny an individual the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, privileges, advantages, facilities, and public spaces. Defines public space as: (1) places of public accommodation; (2) any building or space that is owned, leased, operated, occupied, or otherwise used by a public body; or (3) any other building or space generally open to the public. Sets out five specified prohibitions, including: subjecting any individual to segregation or separate treatment in any matter related to that individual's receipt of any disposition, service, financial aid, or benefit provided to other members of the general public; restricting an individual in any way in the enjoyment of any advantage or privilege enjoyed by others receiving any disposition, service, financial aid, or benefit provided to other members of the general public; and denying an individual an opportunity to participate in a program through the provision of service or otherwise afford that individual an opportunity to do so that is different from that afforded to other members of the general public. Prohibits requiring an individual to take, receive, or disclose whether a person has received a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of (1) entering a business or public space; (2) receiving any good or service; or (3) enjoying any facilities, privileges, advantages, or public spaces. Prohibits the State and its agencies and subdivisions from creating, imposing, or allowing to be imposed any device or method of identification that might be considered to be a vaccine passport required to travel, enter any public space or private property, or do business in the state.

Part VII.

Amends GS 58-3-25 to prohibit an insurer from refusing to insure or continue to insure an individual, to limit available coverage, or to charge an individual a different rate, solely because of an individual's vaccination status.

Enacts new GS 58-50-286 prohibiting a health benefit plan from using the status of any patients of a provider as a (1) qualification or requirement for entering into a contract with the health care provider, (2) basis for terminating a contract with the health care provider, (3) factor in the provision of financial incentives for a health care provider, or (4) a factor in the imposition of penalties on a health care provider.

Enacts GS 58-51-2 prohibiting a group health plan offered on the large group market from using an insured’s vaccination status as a factor in the rating of a group health plan providing coverage in this state.

Apples to contracts issued, renewed, or amended on or after October 1, 2021.

Part VIII.

Enacts new GS 20-43.5 prohibiting the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) from collecting or maintaining vaccination information or connecting DMV records to a person’s vaccination information. Prohibits requiring vaccination information in order to get an identification card, a learner's permit, or a driver's license. Prohibits a business or governmental entity that requires a person to present a DMV-issued identification card, learner's permit, or driver's license to verify identification from requiring a person to provide vaccination information or proof of immunity; also prohibits those entities from discriminating, denying services or access, or otherwise penalizing a person for not receiving a vaccination or providing proof of immunity.

Part IX.

Prohibits a health care provider authorized to administer a COVID-19 vaccination in this state from requiring a patient to agree to the following as a condition of receiving the vaccination: (1) permission to use or disclose the patient's protected health information or personal identifying information for marketing or other business purposes or (2) waiver of any of the rights guaranteed under the specified portions of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and any federal regulations adopted to implement these sections, except as necessary to safely administer the vaccination to the patient and seek reimbursement for administration costs from a third-party payor.

Part X.

Includes a severability clause.

Part XI.

Effective when the act becomes law, unless otherwise provided.

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