Gov. Greg Abbott called on the Texas Legislature to pass a bill barring any Texas entity from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for employees. Though a prohibition on vaccine mandates was one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s priorities for the special session, the opposition of business groups stymied its progress in both chambers.
Several chambers of commerce, the Texas Association of Business, the Texas Hospital Association, the Texas Association of Manufacturers, the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association and the Texas Trucking Association, have warned lawmakers of the legislation’s risks to small businesses, workplaces that rely on federal funding and immunocompromised Texans. Medical advocacy groups have similarly spoken up against the legislation after it was introduced last week.
The Senate’s proposal for the bill was pushed out of committee, it did not attract the votes for approval by the whole chamber. The House version, on the other hand, failed to leave the committee.
Proposals for the legislation came after President Joe Biden’s announcement that federal contractors must have all employees vaccinated against COVID-19 and that businesses with more than 100 employees must mandate vaccination against the virus or require regular testing. Republican-run states are already gearing up to challenge the legality of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private companies before the Labor Department has even published the rules. Abbott’s executive order attempted to preempt the new rules. Texas-based Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have already underlined their obligation to abide by Biden administration vaccine rules that are stricter than the forthcoming OSHA rules.