FILE — Oregon state capitol building

The Oregon state capitol building in Salem, Oregon 

ONTARIO — State Rep. Mark Owens, R-Crane, and Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, were joined by a number of fellow lawmakers in the Oregon House and Senate in introducing a bill to ban the creation of vaccine passports on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the bill summary, it would prohibit issuance of a COVID-19 passport, forbids vaccination against or the need to show immunity to the virus to achieve access to certain amenities. It also restricts requiring wearing face-covering to access certain amenities.

In a statement released about the bill, Owens said, “Requiring proof of vaccinations via a passport program is wrong and it opens the door to myriad problems. It’s a violation of our privacy and our freedoms, it’s discriminatory and it shows the governor doesn’t believe Oregonians can be trusted.

“Let me be clear — this is not an argument over COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s about Oregonians’ rights. I believe the choice to get a vaccine is a personal, private medical decision that should be made between their medical provider and that Oregonians would be free to make that choice themselves,” Owens concluded.

House Bill 3407 was introduced at the request of the Eastern Oregon Counties Association, which had its first introductory reading on the House Floor on Tuesday. The bill has 12 chief sponsors and 17 additional sponsors from both sides of the aisle. It is awaiting committee assignment at the Speaker’s desk.

Housing, homelessness

On the Senate side of the Capitol, the Senate approved amendments made in the House to Senate Bill 8, which requires local governments to allow affordable housing on land not zoned for residential uses.

Amendments require that the land be publicly owned, adjacent to land zoned for residential uses or schools and land not specifically designated for heavy industrial uses. It is being prepared to be signed into law.

House Bill 3124 was passed in the Senate, which among other things increases the time, from 24 hours to 72 hours, that written notice must be posted for closure of homeless camps.The bill is back in the House for possible consideration of Senate amendments.

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