To ensure that the bill was subject to more scrutiny and debate before it could be sent back to the governor, the Senate amended the bill. The Senate added the change to protect federal funding for state universities. House Bill 1509 was passed by the Senate on a 36-15 vote, with Republicans supporting it. In January, the House passed House Bill 1509, which was authored by Philip Gunn, the Republican Speaker of Congress. “The Senate passed a conservative, strong bill that protects children and employees in Mississippi from a COVID-19 mandate,” stated Lt. Governor. Delbert Hosemann. “I support a broader bill that provides a religious exemption for vaccines requirements for schools. I will also support it when it is properly before Senate.” READ MORE: House approves anti-vaccine mandate bill. Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville) offered an amendment to allow such a broad exemption from all vaccine requirements. However, a point was made that the original bill only covered COVID-19, and McDaniel’s amendment was too broad. Hosemann ruled that it was an excessively broad amendment. McDaniel decided to appeal Hosemann’s ruling to the full Senate. The Senate voted 34-16 in favor of Hosemann’s ruling. McDaniel stated that although it may not seem like an issue of civil rights, it was one. It is a civil right issue — the right to choose what they put into their bodies. Hosemann had to warn a group of vaccine mandate supporters to not cheer on lawmakers who made anti-vaccine mandate statements. Senator Chad McMahan (R-Tupelo) proposed an unsuccessful amendment that would allow for a medical-condition exemption from any vaccine mandate. Although his amendment was rejected, McMahan was assured that it is in state law. McMahan stated that “we’re here today” because the federal government exceeded its authority to inform people they must take an experimental vaccine. Senator Brice Wiggins (R-Pascagoula) told his colleagues that he is “ground zero” when it comes to vaccine mandates. Ingalls Shipbuilding is located in his district. Although the shipyard passed a mandate for vaccines, it was later suspended after 20% of its 11,500 employees were unable to comply. Wiggins stated that “those employees shouldn’t have been put in this position at all.” Senator John Horhn (D-Jackson) questioned whether the bill could harm community health. Horhn stated, drawing cheers from supporters in the gallery. “So the rights and liberties of the individual trump those of society?” “Their rights will trump safety of whole cities, whole communities or the entire state.” Individual rights could put a lot more people at risk. Sen. Dennis DeBar (R-Leakesville), said that pushing for individual rights could lead to “putting a lot more people at risk.” DeBar added a “reverse-repeater” amendment to the measure, which allowed for more time to review the bill and ensure that it does not “jeopardize federal funding for IHL.” The measure would then have to be voted on again by the House and Senate before it could become law. This bill was created in response to the ongoing battle between those who oppose various COVID-19 vaccine mandates that President Joe Biden issued. While some mandates have been upheld in federal court, others have not. It exempts employees of private companies from the mandate to get vaccinated. However, it would also prohibit state and local government entities from imposing a vaccine mandate upon their employees. The National Guard would be affected by the bill. The U.S. Department of Defense mandated that members of the National Guard be vaccinated. This issue is being considered by the federal courts.