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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Senate Republicans have scaled back a proposed ban on employer vaccine requirements for COVID-19.

Companies would still have to honor medical or religious exemptions, but they wouldn’t just have to take your word for it. The bill would instead follow standards laid out in federal civil rights law, which say companies have a right to review whether a claimed religious belief is sincere. And the Senate version deletes an all-purpose escape hatch which would allow any worker to refuse the vaccine without offering a reason.

Many of those who testified when the House passed the original version of the bill last month complained it didn’t go far enough. At a two-hour Senate committee hearing, several vaccine opponents say they backed the House version, but can’t support the revised bill. They’re particularly angry about the use of the federal standard for granting religious exemptions, which Stand for Health Freedom executive director Leah Wilson calls “grossly inadequate.”

While anti-vaccine groups withdrew their support, the Indiana Chamber and local Chambers of Commerce for Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, South Bend and Evansville have withdrawn their opposition after senators scrapped a provision making businesses pay the tab for testing unvaccinated workers. And business groups say the more limited exemptions restore companies’ ability to manage their own workplaces.

Hospitals and nursing homes wouldn’t be affected by the proposed limits. A federal mandate requires those workers to get vaccinated, regardless of what the state does. The bill also allows mandates for pro sports facilities and entertainment venues. Senate Majority Leader Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) says those venues requested the change to avoid conflicts with touring performers whose contracts with stagehands include vaccine requirements.

The Senate Health Committee approved the revised bill on an 8-2 party-line vote. Indianapolis Democrat Jean Breaux calls the bill much improved, but says she’s still concerned it threatens to “delegitimize” a vaccine which has saved lives. Since the first full vaccinations last January, 84% of Indiana’s COVID-19 deaths have been unvaccinated.

The full Senate could vote on the bill next week, but House and Senate Republicans agree there will be further negotiations afterward on a final version.