Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB4239
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Full Text of HB4239  102nd General Assembly

HB4239 102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  
  

 


 
102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY
State of Illinois
2021 and 2022
HB4239

 

Introduced 1/5/2022, by Rep. Adam Niemerg, Joe Sosnowski, Chris Miller, Brad Halbrook, Dan Caulkins, et al.

 

SYNOPSIS AS INTRODUCED:
 
New Act

    Creates the COVID-19 Religious Exemption Act. Provides that it shall be unlawful for any person, public or private institution, or public official to discriminate against any person in any manner because of such person's refusal to obtain, receive, or accept a COVID-19 vaccination contrary to his or her belief. Requires all health care facilities to adopt written access to care and information protocols that are designed to ensure that belief-based objections do not cause impairment of patients' health and that explain how belief-based objections will be addressed in a timely manner to facilitate patient care. Provides that it is unlawful for any public or private employer, entity, agency, institution, official, or person to deny admission because of, to place any reference in its application form concerning, to orally question about, to impose any burdens in terms or conditions of employment on, or to otherwise discriminate against, any applicant, in terms of employment, admission to or participation in any programs for which the applicant is eligible, or to discriminate in relation thereto, in any other manner, on account of the applicant's refusal to obtain, receive, or accept a COVID-19 vaccination that is against the applicant's beliefs. Provides that it is unlawful for any public official, guardian, agency, institution, or entity to deny any form of aid, assistance, or benefits, or to condition the reception in any way of any form of aid, assistance, or benefits, or in any other manner to coerce, disqualify, or discriminate against any person, otherwise entitled to such aid, assistance, or benefits, because that person refuses to obtain, receive, or accept a COVID-19 vaccination contrary to the person's belief. Allows any person injured by any public or private person, association, agency, entity, or corporation by reason of any action prohibited by the Act to bring an action. Provides that a person who brings an action shall recover threefold the actual damages, the costs of the action, and reasonable attorney's fees, but in no case shall recovery for each violation be less than $2,500 plus costs of the action and reasonable attorney's fees. Makes other changes. Effective immediately.


LRB102 21324 LNS 30436 b

 

 

A BILL FOR

 

HB4239LRB102 21324 LNS 30436 b

1    AN ACT concerning civil law.
 
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
 
4    Section 1. Short title; references to Act.
5    (a) Short title. This Act may be cited as the COVID-19
6Religious Exemption Act.
7    (b) References to Act. This Act may be referred to as the
8Freedom Act.
 
9    Section 5. Findings and policy. The General Assembly finds
10and declares that individuals, not government officials, have
11the right to make their own health care decisions and that they
12hold different beliefs about whether a COVID-19 vaccination is
13in their own best interests. It is the public policy of the
14State to respect and protect the right of all individuals to
15refuse to act contrary to their beliefs on their own behalf or
16the behalf of a minor or ward in their care to obtain, receive,
17or accept a COVID-19 vaccination, and to prohibit all forms of
18discrimination, disqualification, coercion, disability, or
19imposition of liability upon such individuals for refusing on
20their own behalf or on the behalf of a minor or ward in their
21care to act contrary to their beliefs in refusing to obtain,
22receive, or accept a COVID-19 vaccination. It is also the
23public policy of the State to ensure that individuals receive

 

 

HB4239- 2 -LRB102 21324 LNS 30436 b

1timely access to information and medically appropriate care.
 
2    Section 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
3    "Belief" means a sincerely held conviction based on an
4individual's religious faith, morals, or views on health care.
5    "COVID-19 vaccination" means any vaccine intended to
6provide acquired immunity against severe acute respiratory
7syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes
8coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), or any of its subsequent
9variants.
10    "Health care facility" means any public or private
11hospital, clinic, center, medical school, medical training
12institution, laboratory or diagnostic facility, physician's
13office, infirmary, dispensary, ambulatory surgical treatment
14center, or other institution or location wherein COVID-19
15vaccinations are provided to any person, including physician
16organizations and associations, networks, joint ventures, and
17all other combinations of those organizations.
18    "Health care personnel" means any nurse, nurses' aide,
19medical school student, professional, paraprofessional, or
20other person who furnishes or assists in furnishing a COVID-19
21vaccination.
22    "Physician" means any person who is licensed by the State
23under the Medical Practice Act of 1987.
24    "Undue delay" means unreasonable delay that causes
25impairment of the patient's health.

 

 

HB4239- 3 -LRB102 21324 LNS 30436 b

1    The above definitions include not only the traditional
2combinations and forms of these persons and organizations but
3also all new and emerging forms and combinations of these
4persons and organizations.
 
5    Section 15. Discrimination. It is unlawful for any person,
6public or private institution, or public official to
7discriminate against any person in any manner, including, but
8not limited to, in relation to licensing, hiring, firing,
9promotion, transfer, appointment, or any other rights or
10privileges, because of the person's refusal, on the person's
11own behalf or on the behalf of a minor or ward in the person's
12care, to obtain, receive, or accept a COVID-19 vaccination
13contrary to the person's belief.
 
14    Section 20. Duty of physicians and other health care
15personnel. Nothing in this Act shall relieve a physician from
16any duty, which may exist under any law concerning current
17standards of medical practice or care, to inform a patient of
18the patient's condition, prognosis, legal treatment options,
19and risks and benefits of treatment options. Nothing in this
20Act shall be construed to relieve a physician or other health
21care personnel from obligations under the law of providing
22emergency medical care.
 
23    Section 25. Access to care and information protocols. All

 

 

HB4239- 4 -LRB102 21324 LNS 30436 b

1health care facilities shall adopt written access to care and
2information protocols that are designed to ensure that
3belief-based objections do not cause impairment of patients'
4health and that explain how belief-based objections will be
5addressed in a timely manner to facilitate patient care. These
6protocols shall, at a minimum, address the following:
7        (1) The health care facility, physician, or health
8    care personnel shall inform a patient of the patient's
9    condition, prognosis, legal treatment options, and risks
10    and benefits of the treatment options in a timely manner,
11    consistent with current standards of medical practice or
12    care.
13        (2) If requested by the patient or the legal
14    representative of the patient, the health care facility,
15    physician, or health care personnel shall (i) refer the
16    patient to, (ii) transfer the patient to, or (iii) provide
17    in writing information to the patient about other health
18    care providers who they reasonably believe may refrain
19    from requiring a COVID-19 vaccination in accordance with
20    the beliefs of the patient or legal representative of the
21    patient.
22        (3) If requested by the patient or the legal
23    representative of the patient, the health care facility,
24    physician, or health care personnel shall provide copies
25    of medical records to the patient or to another health
26    care professional or health care facility designated by

 

 

HB4239- 5 -LRB102 21324 LNS 30436 b

1    the patient in accordance with State law, without undue
2    delay.
 
3    Section 30. Permissible acts related to access to care and
4information protocols. Nothing in this Act shall be construed
5to prevent a health care facility from requiring that
6physicians or health care personnel working in the facility
7comply with access to care and information protocols that
8comply with the provisions of this Act.
 
9    Section 35. Discrimination by employers or institutions.
10It is unlawful for any public or private employer, entity,
11agency, institution, official, or person, including, but not
12limited to, a medical, nursing, or other medical training
13institution, to deny admission because of, to place any
14reference in its application form concerning, to orally
15question about, to impose any burdens in terms or conditions
16of employment on, or to otherwise discriminate against, any
17applicant, in terms of employment, admission, or participation
18in any programs for which the applicant is eligible, or to
19discriminate in relation thereto, in any other manner, on
20account of the applicant's refusal, on the applicant's own
21behalf or on the behalf of a minor or ward in the applicant's
22care, to obtain, receive, or accept a COVID-19 vaccination
23that is against the applicant's beliefs.
 

 

 

HB4239- 6 -LRB102 21324 LNS 30436 b

1    Section 40. Denial of aid or benefits. It is unlawful for
2any public official, guardian, agency, institution, or entity
3to deny any form of aid, assistance, or benefits, or to
4condition the reception in any way of any form of aid,
5assistance, or benefits, or in any other manner to coerce,
6disqualify, or discriminate against any person otherwise
7entitled to such aid, assistance, or benefits, because that
8person refuses, on the person's behalf or on the behalf of a
9minor or ward in the person's care, to obtain, receive, or
10accept a COVID-19 vaccination contrary to the person's belief.
 
11    Section 45. Actions; damages. Any person injured by any
12public or private person, association, agency, entity, or
13corporation by reason of any action prohibited by this Act may
14commence an action therefor, and shall recover threefold the
15actual damages, including pain and suffering, sustained by the
16person, the costs of the action, and reasonable attorney's
17fees, but in no case shall recovery for each violation be less
18than $2,500 plus costs of the action and reasonable attorney's
19fees. These damage remedies shall be cumulative and not
20exclusive of other remedies afforded under any other State or
21federal law.
 
22    Section 50. Other Acts. This Act supersedes all other Acts
23or parts of Acts to the extent that any Act or parts of an Act
24is inconsistent with the terms or operation of this Act.
 

 

 

HB4239- 7 -LRB102 21324 LNS 30436 b

1    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
2becoming law.