Yesterday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican bracing for a difficult campaign season with strong primary challengers, claimed to sign a bill that would ban private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination – commonly referred to as vaccine passports – from customers. The bill not only fails to live up to Florida’s law in terms of what entities are prohibited from requiring the vaccine passports, but also fails to impose any meaningful penalty to businesses that refuse to comply with the law.
At the beginning of the subsection dealing with the supposed ban of vaccine passports, the law seems to codify Abbott’s previous executive order preventing the Texas government from requiring COVID-19 passports, and then appears to extend the same prohibition to businesses. However, a close reading of the bill reveals that the only penalty for a business requiring vaccine passports is that it will not be eligible for state grants or to contract with the state.