Little Rock, Arkansas – Government of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson A new law was effectively passed Wednesday that would allow employees to opt out of the Covid 19 vaccine requirement, a move by fellow Republicans to challenge the federal vaccine mandate.
In Arkansas, a bill becomes law when it sits at the governor’s desk for five days without action. Governors have traditionally used this approach to speak out against legislation without vetoing it.
Hutchinson He said the period before the opt-out law came into force gave the state more time to assess its impact on businesses and to file any judicial challenge.
But They He also called the proposal unnecessary and ineffective.
“The debate over these bills has been detrimental to our goal of increasing vaccination rates in Arkansas.” They Told reporters.
The move requires employers to allow workers to opt out of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement if they are tested weekly or to prove they have antibodies to the virus. Health officials say antibody tests should not be used to test for immunity against the corona virus and that those who have recovered from COVID-19 should still be vaccinated.
The bill is essentially a response to President Joe Biden’s order that businesses with more than 100 employees be required to be vaccinated or tested weekly.
In other states, Republicans have taken steps to curb or reduce Biden’s mandate. In neighboring Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order barring private companies or other entities from requiring vaccines. Special legislative sessions have also been convened in Wyoming, Kansas and South Dakota to address vaccine needs.
Prior to Biden’s order, some of Arkansas’ largest employers, such as Walmart in Bentonville, needed to vaccinate some or all of their employees. Hutchinson A law was signed this year banning state and local governments from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine.
Business groups have criticized the opt-out move, saying it would be a mandate for businesses themselves, forcing companies to choose between violating state or federal law. Hospital officials say the move could also jeopardize Medicare and Medicaid funding for healthcare facilities.
The solution is not to put pressure on employers between the federal government and the state government. Hutchinson, Which has criticized Biden’s vaccine order. “Employers need freedom to protect their employees and their customers, and the government should not interfere with that freedom through mandates.”