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Bay Area Lawmaker Puts Workplace COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Proposal On Hold

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – A Bay Area lawmaker's proposal to mandate all employees and independent contractors to receive the COVID-19 vaccine has been placed on hold.

Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) said she is pausing Assembly Bill 1993 amid weeks of declining cases following the omicron surge and opposition from some labor groups and employers. Wicks introduced the proposal in February.

"We are now in a new and welcome chapter in this pandemic, with the virus receding for the moment. This provides for us the opportunity to work more collaboratively with labor and employers to address concerns raised by the bill," Wicks said in a statement that was also posted to her Twitter account.

The assemblymember went on to say, "While I'm disappointed in the opposition to this bill by public safety unions, it's my hope that they will ultimately come to the table to make sure all of their workers are vaccinated, and that every job sector in California has the tools necessary to keep their workers safe from COVID-19."

Wicks' proposal would have required employers on January 1, 2023 to verify their employees vaccination status. New employees would have been required to get one dose by their first day of work and their second dose with 45 days.

Not long after the bill's introduction, legislative Republicans decried the proposal as government overreach.

"I trust Californians enough to treat them like adults who can make their own health care decisions. It's unfortunate that a few Democrats in the Legislature don't," Assembly GOP Leader James Gallagher told The Associated Press last month.

Gallagher said he has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

While the legislation is on hold, Wicks said vaccination remains crucial as the state moves towards an endemic response to the virus.

"Vaccines, and vaccine requirements, remain a critical tool for moving from pandemic to endemic. That work is still needed, and it could still ensure that millions more Californians become vaccinated," Wicks said.

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