California Democrats on Friday proposed a new COVID-19 mandate for the workplace that would require eligible employees to show proof of vaccination to their employers.

Assembly Bill 1993, authored by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, is the latest step lawmakers have taken to strengthen the state’s ability to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases. Wicks is part of a vaccine work group lawmakers launched last month, which includes state Sens. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, and Assemblymembers Akilah Weber, D-San Diego, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, and Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley.

The new bill would require each employee or independent contractor in both the public and private sectors to provide proof to their employer that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 1, 2023. Employers who violate the rule could face an undetermined fine.

Employees could obtain exemptions for a medical condition or disability or a “sincerely-held” religious belief. Under the proposed law, employees would only be required to show proof of vaccination until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices determines that COVID-19 vaccinations are “no longer necessary for the health and safety of individuals.”

COVID-19 mandates are an ongoing source of tension in California and across the nation. Through executive orders, Gov. Gavin Newsom over the last year has required vaccines for healthcare workers and school employees, or require them to be subject to regular testing. The governor also declared eligible school children must receive the vaccine in order to attend in-person classes. Students must be vaccinated at the start of the next semester following fully authorization for their age group.

More recently, Wiener introduced Senate Bill 866, which would allow teens 12 and over to get vaccinated without parental consent. Weber on Monday introduced Assembly Bill 1797, that would help schools update vaccine registries.

The vaccine mandate for schools that Newsom implemented last year still allows parents to opt-out with a personal belief exemption. Senate Bill 871 by Pan would close that exemption.

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