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SALT LAKE CITY – Nearly a thousand people showed up in person or joined online at a meeting Monday of the Interim Business and Labor Committee in the Utah capital. Almost all were opposed to President Biden’s order for a commercial mandate in the field of vaccines.

Committee chair Senator Curt Bramble conducted an informal audience poll, and only two people in attendance and several others online said they were in favor of the order.

State gives guidance on Mr Biden’s vaccination mandate

For the first hour and a half, lawmakers heard from state agencies including the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunities, Utah’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (UOSH), Labor Commission of Utah and the Utah Attorney General‘s Office.

Related: Utah Lawmakers Want Public Input on President’s Vaccine Tenure

“In our conversations with business so far, we haven’t heard anyone expressing support for a general tenure of administration,” said Benjamin Hart, deputy director of the governor’s office of economic opportunities.

“That being said,” he added, “we have heard from some companies who have expressed their wish to require all their employees to be vaccinated.”

Utah has its own occupational safety and health division. It is managed half by state money and half by federal money.

UOSH officials have said Utah must be “at least as efficient” as federal OSHA in the rules it follows for workplace safety.

“We are audited annually by federal OSHA,” Utah Labor Commission Commissioner Jaceson Maughan said.

“If OSHA determined that we were not as effective as (the national agency), this could become an issue where OSHA would try to push this issue forward or even take action to potentially invalidate this plan and fire it. Utah under federal jurisdiction. ”

Utah should sue, which could take time

Maughn said that once OSHA releases its standards for an emergency temporary standard, Utah will have 30 days to adopt it. Maughn said it is effective for 6 months and then it should be renewed.

“Let’s say we ask you not to implement the standard,” asked the committee’s House chairman, Rep. Joel Ferry.

“The ramification is that the federal government can come in and take over our OSHA department?” “

“This could potentially be the final solution,” Maughan said. “This is the worst case scenario, but it potentially exists.”

Utah Solicitor General Melissa Holyoak testified that Reyes’ office is “confident” in their legal position against the ordinance. She reiterated that they believed it was unconstitutional and illegal.

It is possible that a special session will be held during the interim week in mid-October for lawmakers to tackle this issue. House Minority Leader Brian King told KSL on Friday he feared the meeting might herald a special session.

Republicans have not said as much, although they have said the special session is possible.

Overwhelming opposition to a vaccination mandate

Trade associations like the Salt Lake Chamber, the General Contractors Association, and the Utah’s Restaurant Association have expressed opposition to the federal requirements, as have several businesses with 100 or more employees in Utah.

Related: Governor Spencer Cox Says Decision To Vaccinate Should Be Left to Businesses

“We advocate for companies to have the right to make their own decisions in the best interests of employees and customers without the government having too much influence,” said Ginger Chinn of The Salt Lake Chamber, and we believe that ‘this is a mandate that reflects the government’s overbreadth.

The (small) support to order

One of the few public commentators supporting the order asked why it was called a warrant.

“I feel confused by everyone who calls this only a vaccine mandate, especially elected officials,” said Stephanie Finley of Salt Lake City. “These are vaccines Where tests, ”she said.

Public comment hours

Most of the time was spent hearing from the public. Each person had one minute to express their point of view.

Some of the comments were extreme and shared misinformation. Many have strayed into points about vaccine safety. Senator Bramble had to reiterate on several occasions that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the federal proposal, and not other matters related to Covid or vaccines. Some people have used Bible references to make their point.

“The serpent that concerns me is the ancient biblical serpent that would have us believe that we are not created in the image of God but that we are created in the image of the government, in the image of Fauci, in the image of God. ‘image of grand pharma, or anyone who tries to force these vaccines on us, ”one woman said.

Related: Utah Lawmaker Wants Businesses To Be Held Accountable If They Need COVID-19 Vaccines

“I refused to bite the ‘poisoned apple’ of these vaccines or tests.”

Currently, 52% of Utahns are fully vaccinated according to the state’s coronavirus website.

Lawmakers said 3% of Utah businesses have 100 or more employees, representing 65% of Utah’s employment base.

The federal mandate also requires that the approximately 17 million workers in healthcare facilities who receive federal Medicare or Medicaid will also need to be fully immunized.

Many members of the public who spoke said they were small business owners. Mr. Biden’s order applies to companies with 100 or more employees. Some have argued that it is “only a matter of time” until the warrants reach them.


How to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus

The COVID-19 coronavirus is spread from person to person, like the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others as recommended by the CDC.
  • Keep children and people with weakened immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this case, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay home, instead of going to the movies, sporting events, or other activities).
  • Get the flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National resources

Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention

Frequently Asked Questions, World Health Organization

Case in the United States


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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion