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R.I. bill would impose fines and double the taxes of those who refuse COVID-19 vaccine

"My son’s condition has made me feel more compassionate and ready for the heavy level of abuse I knew I’d receive."

Erin Clark/Globe Staff
RN John Pizzo administers COVID-19 vaccines at Bucklin Park in Providence on Thursday afternoon. Erin Clark/Globe Staff


PROVIDENCE — Rhode Islanders who don’t get the COVID-19 vaccine would face $50 monthly fines and have to pay twice what they’d otherwise owe in personal income taxes, under a state Senate bill.

Senator Samuel W. Bell, a progressive Providence Democrat, proposed the legislation, which has drawn sharp and, in some cases, vulgar criticism on Twitter. And it has prompted Senator Jessica de la Cruz, a North Smithfield Republican, to organize an email campaign opposing the measure.

“The reason I introduced the bill is we have a crisis with the pandemic,” Bell said Wednesday. “Thousands of Rhode Islander have died. I’ve had really painful calls from constituents who can’t go to the store because they’re immuno-compromised, who have lost loved ones to this pandemic, who are really ill and not fully recovered, suffering long-term effects.”

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