Hearing over Michigan bill to ban vaccine, mask mandates filled with misinformation, conspiracy theories, outright lies

Bill would prevent employers from mandating vaccines, masks, asking about COVID vaccination status

For weeks, there have been protests over vaccine mandates for employees.
For weeks, there have been protests over vaccine mandates for employees.

LANSING, Mich. – For weeks, there have been protests over vaccine mandates for employees.

A lot of employees said they’re feeling pressured or intimidated to get a shot they don’t want, but a lot of those reasons are based on faulty and potentially dangerous conspiracies.

Read: Where to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan in August: List of clinics

Those conspiracies were on display Thursday in Lansing as lawmakers listened to testimony about House Bill 4471, which would prevent employers from mandating vaccines, masks or even asking about vaccination status. The hearing quickly devolved into an unfounded -- and often completely false -- conspiracy about the vaccine itself.

Among the speakers were several known anti-vaccine doctors, including Dr. Christina Parks -- a Ph.D. who pushes debunked theories about vaccines causing autism and the benefits of hydroxichlorquine; Dr. James Neuenschwander -- who was disciplined in 2015 by the state medical board for negligence; and Dr. Moehanid Talia -- who accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of funding and profiting from the spread of outbreaks dating back to the early 2000s.

While the testimony was questioned by some lawmakers, many stayed silent.

Read: Record delta wave hits kids, raises fear as US schools open

House Bill 4471 is opposed by seven major business and health groups. Only one sent a representative to speak -- the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, which called the bill “government overreach.”

The statement was met with jeers from the anti-vax crowd.

More: Michigan COVID news


About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.