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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new Mississippi law bans government offices and schools from discriminating against citizens who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine, the governor’s office says.

Governor Tate Reeves announced the signing of House Bill 1509 Friday. The law means Mississippi public and private schools, from kindergarten through college, cannot require students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to attend school.

It also specifies that state agencies, public officials, state institutions of higher learning, public community or junior colleges, county, municipality, and other political subdivisions cannot bar people from employment or compensation due to their COVID-19 vaccination status.

Businesses also cannot require employees to receive the vaccine if they have a “sincerely held religious objection.”

“Throughout the pandemic, I’ve encouraged Mississippians to consult with their doctor, study the facts, and decide what’s best for them and their families,” said Reeves in a written statement. “I’ve made clear that government shouldn’t be in the business of forcing Americans to choose between the COVID-19 vaccine and putting food on their tables, sending their kids to school, or visiting a small business. I’m proud to sign this legislation which protects Mississippians’ medical and religious freedoms.”