As Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican Texas leaders wage a war against vaccination mandates meant to curb COVID-19, a state Senate committee on Thursday advanced legislation that would make any entity, including hospitals, vulnerable to discrimination lawsuits if they mandated vaccinations for all employees.
The Senate State Affairs Committee’s vote 5-1 to advance Senate Bill 51 comes over the objections of medical and business advocacy groups, who pushed back against the legislation. They warned lawmakers of its risks to small businesses, workplaces that rely on federal funding and immunocompromised Texans.
It was the second legislative hearing in as many days in which business groups and medical leaders urged the Legislature to let individual companies decide whether they require employees to be vaccinated. Abbott asked lawmakers this week to take up the issue to ensure Texans aren’t required to get vaccinated, saying that vaccines are “safe, effective, & our best defense against the virus, but should always remain voluntary & never forced.”