Sen. Rick Scott rolls out legislation to prohibit TSA from requiring proof of COVID vaccines for travelers

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Republican Sen. Rick Scott on Wednesday introduced legislation that would prohibit officials from the Transportation Security Administration from requiring Americans to show proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. 

The bill, the “Freedom to Fly Act,” would also prohibit TSA workers from requiring American travelers to produce a passport for domestic flight to protect the privacy of personal health information. 

Scott’s legislation says that the TSA “may not prescribe or implement any regulation or policy that would allow employees” to “request information relating to vaccinations from any passenger traveling on a flight between states or territories or possessions of the United States.” 

“Americans are working hard to recover from the devastation of COVID-19 and travel is critical to getting our economy fully reopened,” Scott said in a statement. 

“While I continue to encourage everyone who wants one to get the vaccine, the federal government has no business requiring travelers to turn over their personal medical information to catch a flight,” he continued. “My Freedom to Fly Act ensures families in Florida and across the country can travel freely and without the ridiculous government bureaucracy created by vaccine passports.”

The White House, last month, said the federal government will not support a system requiring Americans to carry a so-called “vaccine passport,” while suggesting the matter will be left to the private sector amid the new guidance on masks

A traveler smiles as they pull down their mask for a TSA agent to confirm their identity at the security checkpoint at Love Field airport Friday, May 28, 2021, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new mask guidance last month, which says fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear masks indoors or outdoors, or physically distance. The CDC, though, still advises that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks while in crowded indoor settings, such as while riding public transportation and in hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.

The new guidance, though, has raised questions on how individuals can prove they are fully vaccinated, and therefore, not required to wear a mask.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki last month during a press briefing was asked whether the government would implement a “vaccine passport” system.

“It has not changed our view that the federal government will not be playing that role,” Psaki said. “The private sector may, and it may prompt the private sector moving forward on actions, which is where we think it is appropriately situated.”

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