FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The resolution that would have formally opposed government-required COVID-19 vaccine passports was struck down at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
“It’s very frustrating that we can’t have an open dialogue about this,” said Councilman Jason Arp (4th district).
The resolution, cosponsored by Arp and Paul Ensley (1st district), argues that vaccine passports and other government requirements “disenfranchises local citizens of the right to make their own health care choices and move freely within society” and says that residents have the right to refuse vaccinations based on religion, medical or personal reasons.
“We just want to make a statement that that we’re standing up for the people,” Arp said. “I think people are frustrated because they’ve seen a lot of inaction by their elected officials right here. So, this is a small step but it’s something that we can do to say ‘hey, we do hear your frustrations and we’re trying to address them.'”
Arp and Ensley, along with Tom Friestroffer (At-large), were outvoted 3:4 at Tuesday’s meeting.
Councilmembers Geoff Paddock (5th district), Sharon Tucker (6th district), Glynn Hines (At-large) and Michelle Chambers (At-large) voted against the resolution.
Their concerns included that the resolution will cause a greater divide in the community and “has no real teeth to it” because its non-binding and that they support the vaccine.
“Even if state law did not prevent us from doing so, I would not endorse a policy that would prevent a business from making it public health policy that they felt was in their own best interest,” Paddock said. “Further, I believe this is a solution in search of a problem. A problem we are very unlikely to have.”
Some councilmembers also felt the resolution was redundant because House Bill 1405 already bans state and local governments from creating or requiring COVID vaccine passports.
Councilmembers Russ Jehl (2nd district) and Thomas Didier (3rd district) were not in attendance on Tuesday.
Prior to discussing the resolution, Arp proposed a motion to get the vote moved to July 6th’s meeting, when all members could be in attendance. However, he was outvoted 3:4.
“I’m hopeful that we would have had a different outcome if we had two other council members here,” Arp said.
As for his future plans regarding this issue, he said he will “see what are options are.”