Pennsylvania House votes for ‘vaccine passports,’ health secretary limits

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Republicans in the Pennsylvania House are advancing legislation to ban the use of so-called COVID-19 “vaccine passports” by colleges, universities or government entities and to put new restrictions on the health secretary’s powers during a health emergency.

Representatives voted on party lines Wednesday to approve the measure that supporters described as a way to protect private health information. But opponents warn it would needlessly endanger public health.

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The bill would prevent the state health secretary from ordering closures and from requiring people who have not been exposed to a contagion to physically distance, wear a mask, “conduct a specific hygienic practice” such as hand-washing, quarantine or restrict travel.

Gov. Tom Wolf says he’ll veto it.