Correction: A quote was previously attributed to Rep. Standridge instead of Chad Warmington. This has since been corrected.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Legal and political wrangling continues around vaccine mandates.
Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on two of the multiple lawsuits our state is a part of concerning workplace requirements.
As state legislators head back to the State Capitol, we will see more bills that echo some of the views of some state officials on vaccine mandates.
Republicans have been pushing back against federal vaccine mandates and now some are wanting to put those views into state law.
“I’ve been in the medicine world a long time and I’ve seen miracle drugs come and go. I mean, everybody’s heard of Zantac now that causes cancer,” said Senator Rob Standridge of Norman.
The Republican Pharmacy owner is talking about why he has authored one of the at least seven different bills filed for the 2022 session that would limit vaccine mandates in some way.
Standridge’s bill would allow employees to make claims against businesses if they incur injury from being forced to take the shot.
“I think if you, for somebody to put something some chemical in their body, you should be liable for the results,” said Standridge.
Another vaccine bill filed today by Senator David Bullard of Durant would make it “unlawful for any federal or state agency, political subdivision, or any business under contract with the state to require any resident of Oklahoma to submit to or receive a COVID19 vaccination or any variant thereof.”
“This doesn’t have any policy goal. Its goal is particularly and clearly political control over public health policy,” said Sen. Mary Boren of Norman.
Some Senate Democrats agree. They say the anti-vaccine mandate bills are more about political posturing and pushback on the federal government than pandemic prevention.
“What the federal government does is not what we need to be worrying about in the State Capitol. We need to be worrying about the safety and wellbeing of Oklahomans,” said Sen. Julia Kirt of Oklahoma City.
Standridge agrees that politics, unfortunately, have become part of process.
“I think in this pandemic, more than any time that I’ve seen in my 30 years in health care, it’s become so politicized that I think more than any other time it needs to be put in the hand of the individual citizen,” said Standridge.
But the vaccine mandate debate does not always follow political lines. The Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce is not wanting vaccine mandates required or prohibited.
“Either the Biden administration doing it or the Stitt administration doing it, we’d be equally opposed to that because we think that business owners and business leaders know what’s best for their businesses, and their customers,” said Chad Warmington of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce.
The last day to file bills is next Thursday , so we could likely see even more vaccine mandate bills on the list come the start of session on February 7.