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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Federal court blocks Montana's ban on vaccine requirements for health care workers

A gloved hand swabs a person's arm, prepping it for a shot.

A federal judge has blocked enforcement of a new Montana law that bans discrimination based on vaccination status as it applies to health care providers. Medical and nursing groups sued last year saying it jeopardizes their work.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy temporarily blocked a section of House Bill 702, which prohibits all employers from discriminating against employees based on vaccine status.

The block means that health care providers that receive Medicaid or Medicare funding are exempt from that provision and can require staff to get vaccinated, but the law stands for other workplaces.

Molloy wrote that the Montana law is preempted by a federal rule in place requiring health care workers get vaccinated against COVID-19. He wrote the court’s block will stay in place unless the federal rule is lifted, at which point the court case over the state law will continue.

Shaylee is Montana Public Radio's Capitol reporter. She previously worked for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and covered the 2019 legislative session for the University of Montana's Legislative News Service.