Montana banned vaccine passports, prohibiting state agencies and businesses from requiring citizens to show proof of a vaccination before providing any service.
The vaccine passport ban was put in place to protect Montana citizens’ liberty and privacy rights, according to the executive order signed by Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte on Tuesday. The governor reiterated that he recommends all Montanans get vaccinated, but added that the choice will remain voluntary.
“I strongly encourage Montanans to get a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, which is our best path to protect our family and friends and get back to a more normal life,” Gianforte said in a statement. “Receiving one is entirely voluntary and will not be mandated by the State of Montana, nor compelled through vaccine passports, vaccine passes, or other compulsory means.”
“We are committed to protecting individual liberty and personal privacy,” he continued.
The executive order prevents the state’s government from sharing whether an individual has been vaccinated with any person or entity. Further, businesses are prohibited from requiring documentation showing proof of vaccination before allowing access to their services.
Gianforte’s order also disallows the state government from using funds to produce, issue or fund vaccine passports of any kind.
Earlier this month, both Florida and Texas have also issued orders prohibiting vaccine passports and vaccination requirements. Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an order against vaccine passports on April 6, days after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a similar order on the issue.
“Everyday, Texans are returning to normal life as more people get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” Abbott said in a statement. “But, as I’ve said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced.”
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