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Bill moving through state Legislature could punish businesses with vaccine requirements

Legislators are working to pass a bill that would punish businesses if they mandate employees' vaccines and they later get sick.

House Bill 2043, which passed the House Judiciary Committee, would require businesses to pay $500,000 if they reject workers' religious exemptions and they suffer significant injury related to getting the COVID-19 vaccination. 

Lobbyist with the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Mike Huckins says this bill goes against Arizona being an "at-will" state. 

"I understand there are moral issues that certain folks have. Others don't have those moral issues or beliefs in the same manner as other folks do. But that's how we're looking at it, as an employer rights issue," Huckins said. 

Bill sponsor Rep. Quang Nguyen says there were more than 100,000 hospitalizations from the vaccine and more than 21,000 deaths. But the CDC reported hospitalizations were less than half of that, and has found no unusual pattern for deaths outside of the nine linked to thrombosis from the Johnson and Johnson shot. 

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.