SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah state legislature may consider making exceptions in any COVID-19 vaccine mandate imposed by a private company.
In an interview with FOX 13, House Speaker Brad Wilson confirmed the idea is under consideration. House Republicans met in their regular caucus on Wednesday to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Utah Capitol political leaders are waiting to see what the Biden administration will say with its proposed workplace safety rule imposing a vaccine or testing warrant on companies with more than 100 employees. The state threatened prosecution or refusal to comply.
“We are gravely concerned about the problem that this rule, as described by the President, will create for the Utahns and our economy and our businesses here and we believe it needs to be addressed differently,” said President Wilson, R -Kaysville, mentioned.
Although they opposed government mandates on vaccines, some political leaders – including President Wilson – have backed the rights of a private company to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine. But the President signaled that the position could change.
“On the one hand, we say we don’t want the federal government to create warrants, on the other hand, we have to be very careful about how we handle warrants. There are times when sometimes employers can do things that maybe cross a line with their employee-employer relationship, ”he said. “So we’ll be watching him. That’s probably the best way to describe him at this point.”
The House Majority Whip added Mike Schultz, R-Hooper: “If a company decides to mandate it, it is certainly its right and its option. However, I think the employee also has certain rights. I think the state should have exemptions. . “
The idea of including exceptions in any vaccination mandate of private companies could be an option. A number of lawmakers are opening bills with subject lines on vaccine mandates. Lawmakers have come under pressure from anti-vaccine voters to act and block any mandate.
“Obviously we are against all federal government mandates, vaccine mandates, but we hope there are exemptions in there,” said Representative Schultz. “Personal, medical and religious exemptions that ultimately give the employee and citizens of our state the ability to have that choice.”
Utah law currently allows personal, religious, or medical immunization exemptions. However, some religions, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have stated that they will refuse to grant them.
Some of these bills that the legislature might pass could run up against a roadblock in Gov. Spencer Cox’s office. While also speaking out against the government making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, he has repeatedly defended the rights of private companies to impose vaccine requirements.
“It is their right to do so and we applaud the market making these decisions”, the governor said at a press conference on September 30.
Asked by FOX 13 if a bill blocking the mandates of private companies was “dead on arrival”, the governor bluntly replied: “Yes”.
Republican House leaders have said they do not oppose vaccines and have encouraged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to end the pandemic.
“I would never force my employees to be vaccinated. I encouraged them to do so, I actually encourage my employees to be vaccinated,” President Wilson said of his own business. “I hope most companies don’t take the plunge in this state and demand a vaccine if there are other options.”