Republicans Are Changing State Laws To Avoid Vaccine Mandates

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Republican lawmakers are seeking to use state legal books to avoid the federal vaccine mandate.

A new report by NPR shows that members of the GOP are figuring out any and every legal avenue possible to bypass the Biden administration's order for all employers to require their workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

In Kansas, lawmakers called a special session for Monday (November 22) to challenge the federal mandate, but experts say the courts will have the last word on the matter and would further hinder the state's ability to respond to emergency health crises and leave employers in legal limbo while court battles are underway.

The Legal Challenge Around the Country

Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) halted its own temporary emergency standard that requires employers with more than 100 workers to mandate full vaccination or regular testing by January 4, 2022.

With the rule being officially challenged, it's not likely that the Republican-run Kansas legislature will stop pushing for a complete reversal of the vaccine mandate.

"We're not going to let the Biden Administration force businesses to play God or doctor to determine whether a religious or medical exemption is valid or not," Republican Senate President Ty Masterson said in an announcement about the special session. "We're going to trust individual Kansans."

Kansas is not alone in its efforts, Republican lawmakers in North Dakota, Florida, Iowa, Tennessee, Wyoming, and Kentucky have already met and passed bills that would nullify the federal level mandates.

The Warning From Health Experts

Not only does this legal battle leave businesses stuck in the middle, the logistics of school vaccine requirements for children, is also left undecided.

Additionally, health experts warn that not getting people vaccinated will only keep us back from ending the pandemic.

"If we don't have people actually get vaccinated, we're going to continue to have these pockets of people who aren't protected," Dr. Christy Petersen, Director of the University of Iowa's Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases told NPR.

"Even if they have gotten sick ... the evidence is that they don't stay protected for very long. And we will just continue to go through cycles of illness and death within these groups."

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