This week, the City of Boise is tracking House Bill 604 (HB 604), which aims to prohibit the state and local government from requiring proof of vaccinations or immunizations to enter events or access services. If passed, this bill would significantly impact the health and wellbeing of our community and remove our ability for local government to take reasonable public health and safety measures at community events held at City of Boise facilities.
As it stands, this bill would remove proven protections that keep our economy open while also mitigating the spread of a contagious illness. HB604 poses additional concerns, because:
- Municipal governments have the constitutional and statutory authority to enact local public health measures that aren’t addressed at the state level.
- These safety measures ensure that City facilities and services remain open and accessible to the community, while keeping resident safety at the forefront. Also, vaccine and/or health testing requirements come within the required action necessary to protect the welfare of a city’s industry and commerce as a tool to keep businesses open and thriving.
- The City of Boise Special Events Team works with event organizers to help produce successful and safe events.
- Special event permitting already encompasses additional public health and safety measures, such a food licensing, emergency response coordination, sanitation measures, etc. Removing vaccine and/or testing standards during an ongoing pandemic restricts how best to ensure community events can continue to be held while also responding to the current needs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- It creates confusion regarding employment practices for municipal governments.
- Some City of Boise positions require engagement with the private sector, including fire inspectors, building inspectors, and code compliance officers. Private sector business may have vaccine or testing requirements in order for individuals to enter their facilities, including those city positions tasked with ensuring compliance with state, federal, and local laws. This could potentially impact our business relationships with the private sector while also restricting city services necessary to protect the community and uphold the law.