Governor J.B. Pritzker put his signature to amend the Health Care Right of Conscience Act yesterday afternoon.
According to a press release, Pritzker signed the amendment into law yesterday at the request of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. Senate Bill 1169 was passed mostly along party lines during last month’s veto session. According to that release, the amendment attempts to clarify the legislative intent of the HCRCA so that it cannot be abused or misinterpreted to jeopardize workplace safety. The press release says that the amendment also attempts to enshrine the long tradition of vaccine requirements by employers, including the COVID-19 vaccine.
Pritzker said in the press release he was happy the General Assembly passed the amendment and accused those who have cited the HCRCA as a way to refuse the Covid vaccines, as interpreting the intent of the bill in a wrongful manner. Pritzker’s Office says “the HCRCA has been improperly invoked to evade employers’ requirements for testing, masking, and vaccines. The misuse of the law’s original intent has put customers, staff, and community members at risk by exposing employers to legal retaliation for enacting life-saving public health measures.”
The press release about the bill signing says that the law still explicitly reiterates federal protections of sincerely held religious objections to refuse to receive or participate in healthcare services that are contrary to personal beliefs, including religious or moral objections to specific services.
The bill becomes effective on June 1st of next year.