On Monday, Texas GOP governor Greg Abbott, who had already banned vaccine mandates from governmental entities, went further, issuing an executive order entirely banning vaccine mandates in the state by employers, including private employers. He wrote:
No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19. I hereby suspend all relevant statutes to the extent necessary to enforce this prohibition.
In his preamble to that declaration, Abbott noted that he had issued a number of executive orders “aimed at protecting the health and safety of Texans, ensuring uniformity across Texas, and achieving the least restrictive means of combatting the evolving threat to public health” and that “COVID-19 vaccines are strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive one, but must always be voluntary for Texans.”
He also pointed out that he had previously issued executive orders to bar “governmental entities and certain others from imposing COVID- 19 vaccine mandates or requiring vaccine passports,” but in “yet another instance of federal overreach, the Biden Administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, causing workplace disruptions.”
He concluded, “This executive order shall remain in effect and in full force unless it is modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the governor. This executive order may also be amended by proclamation of the governor.”
“Abbott also called on the Texas state Legislature to pass a law with the same effect. The executive order would be rescinded upon the passage of such legislation, the governor’s office said,” CNN reported.
In September, President Biden attacked Abbott and Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis; last May DeSantis signed a bill allowing “the state to issue fines beginning Sept. 16 if people are asked to show proof they have received a COVID-19 vaccine before being allowed in businesses, schools, or government buildings,” as WFTV 9 reported.
Biden started by boasting, “We’ve made enormous progress against the virus through the summer. And now we put ourselves in a strong position to battle this Delta variant. That’s why the actions I proposed on vaccines last week are so critical. From requiring federal workers to get vaccinated, requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated, requiring employers with over 100 employees to institute vaccine and or test protocols calling on for them to be able to know what their employees are doing before they walk through the door. Calling for vaccine or test requirements to enter big venues. And a whole series of steps I posed to protect our kids in schools.”
He continued, “We’re facing a lot of pushback, especially from some of the Republican governors. The governors of Florida and Texas are doing everything they can to undermine the life-saving requirements that I’ve proposed.”