The legislation, which Republican lawmakers have been trying to pass since 2021, offers no exceptions for doctors’ offices, clinics or other health facilities.
A sweeping ban on COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees of private Texas businesses is on its way to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, carrying with it a $50,000 fine for employers who punish workers for refusing the shot.
Senate Bill 7, by state Sen. Mayes Middleton, R-Galveston, cleared its final hurdle Tuesday when senators agreed on a 17-11 vote to accept the House version of the legislation, which raised the fine from the $10,000 initially proposed in the bill.
The legislation, which Republican lawmakers have been trying to pass since 2021, offers no exceptions for doctors’ offices, clinics or other health facilities. The bill also includes unpaid volunteers and students working in medical internships or other unpaid positions as part of graduation requirements.
Private employers are allowed by the legislation to require unvaccinated employees and contractors to wear protective gear, such as masks, or enact other “reasonable” measures to protect medically vulnerable people who work or come into their places of businesses or medical facilities.