PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) — Rhode Island senators put their names on Bill S.2552, which would require every person at least 16 years old in the state to be immunized against COVID-19.
NBC 10 News learned that two removed their names from the bill.
NBC 10 stopped by a local grocery store to speak with people about the matter.
Dhimitris Lusiano said he doesn't agree with the bill.
“I can’t advise anybody because everybody is different," said Lusiano.
Violating the proposed vaccine mandate would come with a price. Violators would face “a civil penalty of $50 and shall owe twice the amount of personal income taxes."
Employers would be responsible for enforcement, requiring workers to provide proof or face a $5,000 fine for each unvaccinated worker.
Some of the senators who introduced the bill on March 1 did not want to talk about it anymore. The issue blew up on Tara Granahan’s WPRO radio show Tuesday morning.
NBC 10 reached state Sens. Jonathon Acosta and Tiara Mack by phone. Neither wanted to comment.
Sen. Sam Bell said he did not have time for an interview, but said he believed there is more support for vaccine mandates than more people realize.
A federal vaccine mandate for large private employers supported by President Joe Biden was struck down by the Supreme Court.
In Rhode Island, mandates for health care workers and first responders convinced many to get a COVID-19 shot and cost some people their jobs.
COVID-19 infection numbers are low but rising. The Department of Health said hospitals in Rhode Island were treating 66 patients with the coronavirus.
People said the bill may be challenging to sell to all Rhode Islanders.
“We need to progress more regarding the vaccination of the COVID-19 needs more education," said Lusiano.