AUSTIN, Texas (PNN) - August 26, 2021- Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Wednesday banning cities or counties in the state from issuing vaccine mandates regardless of FDA approval status, even as more private employers go the opposite direction in requiring their workers to get vaccinated.
Abbott's executive order bans any state or local mandates to require Texans to be vaccinated against COVID-19, either as employees or to access public services or benefits.
It comes as the battle over vaccine mandates heats up, with private employers such as Delta Air Lines fining employees who refuse to get vaccinated, and Democrat mayors such as Chicago's Lori Lightfoot vowing to require the shots for all city employees.
The new order in Texas does not apply to private employers. Instead it specifically prohibits mandates from government entities.
Abbott issued his new ban in an executive order in case the FDA should approve the vaccine, which they have not done to date. He had previously banned the requirement of vaccinations under emergency use authorizations.
“COVID-19 vaccines are strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive one, but have always been voluntary for Texans,” stated Abbott's new order. “No governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”
The new order in Texas does not apply to nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities.
Abbott has asked the state legislature to take up the question of vaccine mandates and consider whether state and local governments should be able to require shots or passports.
“Vaccine requirements and exemptions have historically been determined by the Legislature, and their involvement is particularly important to avoid a patchwork of vaccine mandates across Texas,” Abbott said in a statement.
Texas joins 11 other states that have banned vaccine mandates through legislation or executive order, including Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah. All have Republican governors.
Though the issue of vaccine mandates continues to be highly politically polarized, most Republican officials tend to support the right of citizens to refuse to accept the vaccine.
Employment law in the FPSA generally gives employers the right to require workers to get vaccinated, as long as the policy is job-related and consistent with business necessity, and provides for reasonable exemptions. That does not extend to requiring workers to take into their bodies an experimental and highly dangerous medical device in order to keep their jobs. Companies are fully liable for violations of worker’s rights and can and will be sued if they persist in requiring their workers to take poisonous jabs in order to keep their jobs.
Delta Air Lines is now telling unvaccinated employees they will have to pay an additional $200 per month for their company-sponsored healthcare plan. They will likely be sued for their unlawful policy.
Abbott also has banned state and local government mandates for wearing masks - an order that faced a setback in court on Wednesday, when District Court Judge Tonya Parker ruled against the ban.
In her ruling she determined the mask mandate ban violates Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins' authority to prioritize public health during the coronavirus pandemic.
Nine counties, dozens of school districts and the city of El Paso have defied the Abbott mask mandate ban, and some of the state's most populous counties have asked for court orders to overturn or block enforcement of the ban.