On Monday, October 11, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-40 (the “Order”) prohibiting vaccine mandates by any entity. The Order, which was efficient upon issuance, states: “No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any particular person, together with an worker or a client, who objects to such vaccination for any motive of private conscience, primarily based on a spiritual perception, or for medical causes, together with prior restoration from COVID-19.” It gives for a most wonderful of as much as $1,000 per violation for any failure to adjust to the order. As well as, it suspends the powers of the state’s emergency administration director and the authority of native officers, together with the Division of State Well being Companies’ preemptive authority, with respect to the declaration of native disasters and coordination or management of public well being emergencies, to the extent obligatory to make sure they don’t impose restrictions which can be inconsistent with the Order.
The Order is meant to stay in impact till Texas lawmakers go laws on the topic. To that finish, Gov. Abbott has requested that the difficulty be added as an merchandise to the third legislative particular session, which ends on October 19, 2021.
The Order’s preamble strongly encourages COVID-19 vaccines for many who are eligible to obtain vaccination, however asserts that vaccination have to be voluntary for Texans and goes on to characterize the Biden Administration’s vaccination coverage as “one more occasion of federal overreach” that’s “now bullying many non-public entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.”
This latest govt order at present leaves open the query of whether or not its prohibition of vaccine mandates by employers creates an impermissible battle with federal vaccination mandates, together with the federal contractor vaccine program and the anticipated Emergency Momentary Normal to be issued by the Occupational Security and Well being Administration. For now, Texas employers considering vaccine mandates or making choices primarily based on workers’ refusal to get vaccinated will likely be constrained to stroll a wonderful line to keep up state and federal compliance. We’re persevering with to trace updates relating to this Order, in addition to any legislative developments that may lend extra perception and steering.