'Tin foil' conspiracy theorists believe a Utah firefighters bill would lead to 'forced vaccination' for COVID-19: report

'Tin foil' conspiracy theorists believe a Utah firefighters bill would lead to 'forced vaccination' for COVID-19: report
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Wikimedia Commons

In deep red Utah, the Republican-controlled state legislature is considering a bill that would allow the state’s firefighters to collect worker’s compensation if they are fighting fires in another state — be it Kansas, Colorado, Arizona or Nevada. But some far-right conspiracy theorists believe that the law, if passed, would allow troops to round up Utah residents who haven’t been vaccinated for COVID-19 and force them to receive a vaccine whether they like it or not.

Sen. Mike McKell, a Republican in the Utah State Legislature, told the Salt Lake City Tribune, “I’ve been up here for ten years, and this is one of the most bizarre responses to a bill I’ve seen. There is not enough tin foil on Capitol Hill to wrap up this conspiracy.”

The Salt Lake Tribune’s Bryan Schott reports that “McKell and other lawmakers” in the Utah State Legislature “have been flooded with e-mails, text messages and phone calls urging them to vote against the bill.” And Schott explains whey Utah House Bill 16 has conspiracy theorists so distraught.

“The panic about the bill revolves around a section that references ‘emergency response teams’ that would be authorized to conduct urban searches in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security,” Schott notes. “The legislation says ‘urban search and rescue.’ Somehow, that section leads people to believe that local health departments, school boards, or any number of entities will have access to militarized emergency response teams that will then be used to round up unvaccinated Utahns and put them in camps to be forcibly vaccinated against COVID-19.”

Schott adds, “There have also been suggestions that residents could be arrested for speaking out against critical race theory, vaccination passports or questioning the integrity of elections. McKell shared several e-mails with The Tribune that accused lawmakers of being ignorant or willfully complicit with a plan to enslave Utah.”

Despite the conspiracy-mongering, HB 16 has passed in the Utah House of Representatives and will now be considered by the Utah Senate. If passed in both branches of the Utah State Legislature, it would go to Utah Gov. Spencer Cox to be signed into law.

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