Indiana GOP push against vaccine mandate faces hurdles

Some conservative Indiana lawmakers wanting to stymie President Joe Biden’s planned COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private employers are facing skepticism from their own Republican leaders and the state’s largest business group.

Posted: Oct 20, 2021 2:47 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Some conservative Indiana lawmakers wanting to stymie President Joe Biden’s planned COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private employers are facing skepticism from their own Republican leaders and the state’s largest business group.

While Biden has promised federal vaccination-or-testing regulations for all companies with 100 or more workers, bills are planned by some Indiana legislators who want to join other Republican-led states in trying to prohibit private companies from requiring vaccine shots.

Supporters of that action are already preparing to raise the issue again when the new Indiana legislative session starts in January, even though similar bills failed during the 2020 session.

“I just don’t think that anyone has any right to tell someone else what kind of medicine they’re to take in order to keep their job. That’s just outrageous,” said Republican state Sen. Jim Tomes of Wadesville.

Indiana law generally allows businesses to hire or fire non-union workers for any reason unless it is in violation of anti-discrimination laws covering age, gender or race.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has opposed Biden’s proposed federal mandate as a step too far even though he says he wishes “everyone would get the vaccine.”

Holcomb, however, isn’t joining the push to block businesses from adopting their own vaccine requirements.

“I’ve always said that I support and respect those companies that have mandates to make sure that their workforce is operational,” Holcomb said. “Sometimes there are some unintended consequences to that, people walk off the line. But every company that I’ve talked to that has gone down that road has said that we’ve done that risk analysis.”

Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar said business vaccine mandates in the state have primarily been limited to hospitals and other health care providers.

“It should be an employer’s decision," Brinegar said. "Whether it’s a presidential mandate or legislators trying to prohibit employers from determining what’s best for their workforce, we’re kind of getting it from both sides.”

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1118335

Reported Deaths: 17712
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1455892240
Lake724831254
Allen67063882
Hamilton51060487
St. Joseph49820649
Elkhart40268546
Vanderburgh34714497
Tippecanoe30808276
Johnson27696467
Hendricks26313385
Porter25657386
Madison21131455
Clark20238279
Vigo19059309
LaPorte17192261
Howard16770314
Delaware16761303
Monroe16628220
Kosciusko14293167
Hancock13113186
Bartholomew12983190
Warrick12210190
Wayne12090269
Floyd12011226
Grant11998245
Morgan10409192
Boone9869124
Noble9316122
Henry9177169
Marshall9152147
Dearborn8970100
Dubois8835140
Shelby8281130
Cass8167128
Lawrence8057185
DeKalb7817109
Jackson770793
Huntington7661115
Gibson7102118
Montgomery7101123
Harrison6954100
Knox6915116
Steuben669089
Whitley659660
Miami6595113
Putnam645085
Clinton627179
Wabash6221111
Jasper613192
Jefferson5856105
Ripley557294
Adams542281
Daviess5076117
Scott491580
Wells4836105
White478469
Greene4701101
Clay464662
Decatur4611110
Fayette452496
Jennings452067
LaGrange427491
Posey410044
Randolph3944107
Washington390956
Fountain375964
Fulton364874
Spencer362247
Starke355574
Owen353577
Sullivan348555
Orange331372
Jay331050
Rush309533
Carroll296239
Franklin292744
Perry290553
Vermillion283658
Tipton251167
Parke250130
Pike248644
Blackford222144
Pulaski210359
Newton182452
Brown177550
Crawford169129
Benton168417
Martin152120
Switzerland147612
Warren135816
Union122616
Ohio92413
Unassigned0595

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