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.”