After years of pandemic orders and costly preventative measures for many businesses, the Texas House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee heard testimony on potential legislation that would protect businesses from having to enforce vaccine mandates.
State Rep. Cody Vasut (R–Angleton), the author of House Bill 609 and a member of the committee, explained in a hearing Wednesday that the legislation would protect businesses that don’t wish to mandate vaccines for employees and contractors from potential lawsuits regarding disease exposure claims.
“Without this bill, you would have a business owner potentially in a position of having to decide between respecting medical freedom or facing litigation for exposure claims, and I don’t believe we should have to put them in that situation,” said Vasut. “We’ve given liability protections for a number of reasons, and I would simply suggest that respecting individual liberty ought to be another.”
Texans for Vaccine Choice Legislative Director Michelle Evans confirmed this assessment in her testimony, explaining that “businesses continue to require vaccines for fear of being faced with frivolous lawsuits from clients, customers or employees attempting to claim that they were exposed to the pandemic disease at their place of business.”
“HB 609 is a necessary step toward protecting Texas business owners from the inevitable fallout of future public health emergencies as the foundation of our state’s economy,” said Evans. “These businesses deserve to be able to thrive and grow and be free to allow their employees to make private medical decisions without government interference or for fear of frivolous lawsuits.”
Tom Glass of Texas Constitutional Enforcement also testified during the hearing, arguing that although he didn’t believe any lawsuits against businesses for exposure would actually prevail due to current precedent, businesses should be incentivized to “respect the bodily autonomy and enable rights of their employees and not force them into taking a vaccine.”
Rebecca Hardy, policy director for Texans for Vaccine Choice, told Texas Scorecard that TFVC is pushing the legislation to prevent the abuse of individual rights in the future. “One lesson learned from the pandemic is that Texas must be proactive in protecting its residents and businesses from overreach,” she said. “We must close all loopholes in current statute to ensure that, in the future, the right to do business and make a living in Texas is not under threat by unconstitutional mandates.”
Citizens can use Texas Scorecard’s Elected Officials Directory to contact their elected officials and ask how they will vote to protect medical liberty.