President Joe Biden signed two new executive orders on Thursday that will require all federal employees and private contractors employed by the government to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He also announced that the Department of Labor is developing an “emergency rule” that will force businesses with 100 or more employees to require mandatory vaccines. This new policy is even more draconian than the president’s previous measures, which encouraged vaccination and required frequent testing for the unvaccinated.
Texas is home to more than 140,000 federal employees, even more federal contractors, and millions of Texas workers, all of whom will now be required to get the shot.
During the regular legislative session earlier this year, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 968, which prohibits governments from issuing vaccine passports and businesses from requiring COVID vaccines from their customers. The legislation does not address employers, however.
The issue was notably missing from Texas’ special sessions this summer.
In Texas, some employers have already started requiring proof of vaccination from their employees. Legislation has been filed that would prohibit such policies, but Abbott has refused to support those efforts. Last month, a spokesman for Abbott said employers should have been able to mandate COVID-19 vaccines on their employees, saying, “Private businesses don’t need government running their business.”
Jackie Schlegel, the executive director Texans for Vaccine Choice, took issue with the move.
“I’m disappointed at the fear that President Biden and his administration continues to promote. They then use that fear to require unprecedented medical mandates,” Schlegel told Texas Scorecard. “It is a fact that he continues to undermine and make irrelevant the U.S. Constitution and our individual liberties. We want all Americans to be safe and healthy, but what citizens choose to do should not be dependent on what the government demands.”