Despite both an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott and judicial action purporting to halt the vaccine mandates issued by the federal government, Texans are still having to choose between losing their livelihoods or getting the COVID-19 vaccination.
This includes members of the Texas Military Forces, commanded by none other than Abbott himself, who are currently being subjected to a mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Defense. The mandate requires all military members receive the COVID-19 vaccination or face potentially discharge.
In the wake of the Texas Legislature not addressing a prohibition on employer vaccine mandates in the most recent special legislative session, Abbott and Republican leadership in the Legislature have consistently communicated their belief that both judicial action and Abbott’s executive order issued in October are enough to prohibit such mandates.
But the order is routinely being ignored.
Republican State Rep. Matt Schaefer (Tyler) took to Twitter to express his frustration.
“Take the vaccine or lose your job” mandate to the Tx Military Dept. comes from commander in chief @GovAbbott. Tx guardsmen aren’t under federal activation & so orders come from Tx, not DC. Gov. Abbott must rescind his mandate & fight for soldiers' freedom of conscience. #txlege
— Matt Schaefer (@RepMattSchaefer) December 8, 2021
Texas Scorecard inquired with all Texas Republican state lawmakers for their comments on the ongoing issue regarding Texas Military Forces being forced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Here are the comments from the lawmakers who responded:
State Rep. Matt Krause (R–Haslet) commented:
Those serving in the Texas Military Forces should not be forced to take a vaccine. The state should do all it can to protect the choice of our Texas military servicemen and women.
State Rep. Jeff Cason (R–Bedford) said:
Legislators have repeatedly been calling for a 4th special session to end the unconstitutional vaccine mandates being imposed by so many entities in Texas and now from leadership in the ranks of the Texas Military. It is past time for Gov. Abbott to do his part and allow the Texas Legislature to outlaw these mandates once and for all.
State Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Waxahachie) said:
Four things are true right now: 1) Vaccine mandates exist in Texas, 2) There is confusion about mandates, 3) Texans are losing their jobs, and 4) the Legislature could end all this tomorrow by passing a law like my proposed bill, the Texas COVID Vaccine Freedom Act.
State Rep. Cody Vasut (R–Angleton) said:
No Texan, including our soldiers, should be forced by government to get a COVID-19 vaccination against their will. Additionally, I continue to support a call for a fourth special session to address all vaccine mandates.
State Sen. Angela Paxton’s (R–McKinney) office responded by saying:
Senator Paxton remains committed to ensuring that the COVID-19 vaccine remains voluntary and continues to oppose compulsory COVID-19 vaccines. Senator Paxton has publicly called for a 4th Special Session to address stopping the vaccine mandates and ensure that employers respect their employees’ rights to be exempt from the COVID vaccine.
All are lawmakers who have publicly called for Abbott to convene a fourth special legislative session to address the issue. They join the Republican Party of Texas and activists all across the state in doing so.
Primary Challengers to Abbott Respond
Candidates challenging Abbott in the 2022 Republican primary election (currently scheduled for March 1, 2022) also commented on the mandates being implemented on Texas Military Forces, despite Abbott’s order.
Abbott responded by creating a hotline through the Texas Workforce Commission, one that was seemingly setup with no direction to actual employees of the commission, with little recourse.
Lawmakers Requesting an Additional Special Legislative Session
The list currently includes:
State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood)
State Sen. Drew Springer (R–Muenster)
State Sen. Angela Paxton (R–McKinney)
State Rep. Keith Bell (R–Forney)
State Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R–Fredericksburg)
State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park)
State Rep. Jeff Cason (R–Bedford)
State Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Waxahachie)
State Rep. Cole Hefner (R–Mt. Pleasant)
State Rep. Matt Krause (R–Haslet)
State Rep. Jeff Leach (R–Allen)
State Rep. Mayes Middleton (R–Galveston)
State Rep. Candy Noble (R–Lucas)
State Rep. Tom Oliverson (R–Cypress)
State Rep. Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound)
State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R–Tyler)
State Rep. Matt Shaheen (R–Plano)
State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City)
State Rep. David Spiller (R–Jacksboro)
State Rep. Valoree Swanson (R–Spring)
State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington)
State Rep. Steve Toth (R–The Woodlands)
State Rep. Cody Vasut (R–Angleton)
State Rep. James White (R–Hillister)