Bill to prohibit vaccination status on La. driver’s licenses advances even though there is no such requirement

Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 6:23 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Some state lawmakers want to make sure COVID-19 and vaccinations status do not end up on Louisiana driver’s licenses even though there is no state law requiring that.

On Tuesday, the House Transportation committee advanced a bill requiring such a ban. This as a number of pieces of legislation have been filed that target COVID-related mandates and the governor’s emergency powers.

Rep. Kathy Edmonston, R-Gonzales, is the author of the bill that made it out of the House committee.

“House bill 232 does prohibit using vaccination verification or immunity status for issuance, renewal or revocation of a driver’s license or special I.D. card,” said Edmonston.

However, neither Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards nor his administration have tried to require vaccination status on Louisiana driver’s licenses. That was backed up by Shantel Lege, a field administrator with the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, as she answered a question from Rep. Ed Lavardain, a Democrat from Alexandria.

“In order for the administration to do something they would have to bring a bill and there’s no bill filed, nothing else saying we need to have it on there?” asked Lavardain.

Lege answered, “No, sir.”

Larvadain continued, “So, this bill is kind of, I guess a little premature, so she’s trying to create a bill that just prohibits them but there’s not an issue for right now?”

Lege responded, “Correct.”

Edmonston calls her bill proactive and preemptive.

“We just want to make sure that we tie up all the loose ends and that we don’t have this, you know, happen,” she said.

Already individuals can use the LA Wallet App to retrieve and display their COVID-19 vaccination status as well as their driver’s license.

Rep. Joe Marino, I-Gretna, questioned Edmonston about possibly tweaking her legislation.

“Would you be opposed to making it optional for an individual to be allowed to put that on their license if they chose?” asked Marino.

Edmonston answered, “I would be opposed to that.”

Marino asked, “Why?”

Edmonston replied, “Because we have LA Wallet if you want to put it on an identification card you can do it through LA Wallet.”

The bill was approved on an eight to three vote and heads to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

Edmonston managed to get the same bill out of the legislature last year, but it was blocked from becoming law by the governor.

“It passed on the floor, passed in the Senate and the governor vetoed it,” she said.

“Have you had any conversations with the governor to see what he might be willing to sign?” asked Rep. Kendrick Brass, D-Vacherie.

Edmonston said,” No, representative Brass I have not.”

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