GREAT FALLS — Governor Greg Gianforte on Tuesday issued an executive order prohibiting the state-sponsored development and required use of so-called vaccine passports in Montana.
“I strongly encourage Montanans to get a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, which is our best path to protect our family and friends and get back to a more normal life,” Gianforte said in a news release. “Receiving one is entirely voluntary and will not be mandated by the State of Montana, nor compelled through vaccine passports, vaccine passes, or other compulsory means. We are committed to protecting individual liberty and personal privacy.”
The executive order prohibits the State of Montana from requiring a vaccine to access state services or facilities; producing, issuing, or funding vaccine passports; and sharing an individual’s vaccination status with any person, company, or governmental entity for purposes of a vaccine passport program.
The executive order also prohibits Montana businesses from requiring customers to provide documentation of their vaccination status to gain access to, entry upon, or service.
Montana now joins several other states that have prohibited, or are considering banning, "vaccine passports."
On April 2, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order that prevents any Florida government entity from issuing a vaccine passport to prove that a person has been vaccinated for COVID-19. The order also bans businesses in Florida from requiring customers to provide COVID-19 vaccine documentation to gain access or services.
Last week, Texas governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies or political subdivisions in Texas from creating a "vaccine passport" requirement. Idaho governor Brad Little also issued an order last week banning state government entities from requiring proof of coronavirus vaccination to receive public services.
The New York Times reported last week on the Biden administration's position on the issue, providing this quote from White House press secretary Jen Psaki: “The government is not now nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential. There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”