Politics Arkansas governor allows COVID-19 vaccine mandate opt-out bill to become law
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About 43,000 teachers have been vaccinated since New York City announced the mandate, saying that those who do not comply will not be allowed to work.The new mandate requires all teachers and school staff members to be vaccinated.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Wednesday allowed two bills allowing employees to opt out of vaccine mandates to become laws without his signature.
Hutchinson allowed Arkansas state Senate Bill 739 and House Bill 1977 to become law without signing them, calling them both "unnecessary" and "harmful to our goal of encouraging vaccines." Hutchinson said he did not veto the bills in order to allow them to be challenged in court in the 90 days before they go into effect.
"These bills are unnecessary, and the conversation has been harmful to our goal of encouraging vaccines. For those reasons I will not sign the bills into law with my signature. I will allow them to become law without signing," Hutchinson said.
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One in five Americans now say they're anti-vaxxers. As resistance expands beyond COVID, health experts call the potential impact 'extremely concerning.'The event is being replicated in some form or another in cities and towns across America, emblematic of a growing grassroots movement of people who believe that vaccine mandates—for COVID, yes, but increasingly for other diseases as well—are an affront to their personal freedom.
, bills in Arkansas become law after sitting on the governor's desk for five days, a tactic governors have used to express opposition to a bill.
These bills were designed to push back against President Biden's vaccine mandate for federal employees.
"I am opposed to the current mandate by the Biden Administration, but the solution is not to place additional mandates on employers at the state government level. The solution is not to put employers in a squeeze play between state and federal law," the Arkansas governor said. "Employers need the freedom to protect their employees and their customers, and government should not interfere with that freedom through mandates.
Hutchinson criticized the bills for creating "distrust and additional hesitancy" towards the COVID-19 vaccine.
"The vaccines are safe, and Arkansans need to get vaccinated, but not through mandates," he added.
According to the, around 47 percent of Arkansas residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while 56 percent have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
NYPD's Largest Union Plans to Sue City Over COVID Vaccine Mandate .
The Police Benevolent Association, the largest police union in New York City, argues that vaccinations are a "personal medical decision."Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the vaccine requirement Wednesday, saying that police, firefighters and other city workers who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19 will be placed on unpaid leave.