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Missouri businesses oppose bills prohibiting employer vaccine requirements

KMIZ ABC 17 News
KMIZ ABC 17 News
 2022-01-25
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and 250 Missouri businesses and employers sent an open letter Monday to Gov. Mike Parson and the Missouri General Assembly asking for them to throw out legislation that would prohibit employers from deciding for themselves whether to implement a vaccine requirement.

Nineteen COVID-19 bills were heard in the Missouri House Judicial Committee on Tuesday morning. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce was against most of them, calling them "anti-business." The chamber is pushing lawmakers to "let businesses decide" what to do in their workplaces regarding COVID regulations.

House Bill 2093 , introduced by Rep. John Wiemann (R-O'Fallon), is known as the "COVID-19 Workplace Vaccination Program Limitation Act." This bill makes it illegal for employers to implement a vaccination requirement in their workplace.

Daniel Mehan, president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, said in the letter he has always opposed government overreach into businesses.

"Employers have long had the ability to set their own vaccination policies and the Missouri Chamber believes all employers should continue to have this right," Mehan said. "An employer’s ability to set their own vaccination policy has long been supported by state law, federal law and the courts."

Several Mid-Missouri businesses signed the letter, including Columbia Insurance Group, American Outdoor Brands, Inc. and Orscheln Products, LLC.

Every bill heard in the committee was introduced by a Republican representative. Rep. Rudy Veit (R-Wardsville) is the vice chair of the judiciary committee.

"I'm against mandating anybody to take the vaccine," Veit said. "But you don't have a constitutional right to a particular job."

Bills and orders to limit the steps businesses and local governments can take to mitigate coronavirus spread, such as vaccine and mask mandates, have popped up in multiple states as the pandemic continues. In Florida, a law that took effect last year prohibits vaccine mandates by the government and private employers. This month, Virginia's new Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, signed an executive order barring mask mandates in schools.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

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