California ‘gut-and-amend’ bill on vaccine mandate fails

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A controversial California “gut-and-amend” legislative maneuver that would have repurposed legislation about Bay Area traffic to impose a statewide coronavirus vaccine mandate has failed.

A.B. 455 was originally meant to regulate lanes and tolls on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. But a draft of an amended version published by the California Globe replaces the toll provisions with language that would allow private employers to fire employees if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine and would have required vaccination proof to enter businesses.

The bill was a desirable target for the “gut-and-amend” switcheroo, which involves taking a bill that has passed early legislative obstacles, gutting its contents, and amending it to do something else entirely as a means of fast-tracking it through California’s state Assembly.

(Getty Images)

“This chilling legislation would have created a ‘show me your papers’ society without any precedent in American history,” Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, a Republican and candidate to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom in the upcoming recall election, told Fox News Wednesday. 

In a separate tweet, Kiley said the bill “is dead for the year,” while warning that it could resurface in the next session if Newsom overcomes the recall effort.

“Our victory over AB 455 will be short-lived if we don’t keep up the pressure and elect a Governor who understands the Constitution is more than a piece of paper,” he wrote.

Aerial view of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge with modern cityscape in background, San Francisco, California, USA.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, dropped the effort Tuesday after leaked drafts of her amended version prompted public backlash, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“The bill’s demise is also a sign that we are about to fix our government,” Kiley said. “Countless Californians came together, spoke out against it, and said enough is enough. That is exactly what is happening with the movement to remove Gavin Newsom as governor.”

Newsom could still take executive action to impose a mandate. 

The recall election will take place on Sept. 14.

If he wins, Kiley has pledged to end the coronavirus state of emergency and repeal all of Newsom’s executive mandates — leaving COVID-19 decisions to private citizens.

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