California: Democrats Drop Statewide Vaccine Mandate Proposal

It has been a challenging week for Californian lawmakers as assemblywoman Buffy Wicks said that the prompt to require vaccination was dropped by the Democrats and considered the idea “dead for 2021”.

The prompt was to require people to prove their vaccination against COVID-19 to enter indoor establishments and to mandate businesses to have their workers get the vaccine.

However, Wicks and co. were unable to provide actual legislation to carry out this mandate, if it were to pass the governor’s desk. 

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Staunch opposition particularly by the Republican lawmakers protested even against the mere idea of a vaccine mandate.

Wicks was aware of this, although says the decision to drop the ball on a possible vaccine mandate for the state was largely due to the very tight schedule the lawmakers were working with. 

According to reports, the lawmakers had less than two weeks to consider the bill in committee hearings and approve it by a two-thirds majority during floor votes before an end-of-session Sept. 10 deadline.

Assemblywoman Wicks is assured that this is not the end of the fight for vaccination mandates, saying that she is engaging in talks with business leaders, union representatives, and others whose support is necessary for any legislation to be successful.

She said they have high hopes that this idea would manifest more solidly come 2022, and that she hopes that the lawmakers would be able to craft “the strongest possible policy”.

Wicks believes that a verification requirement could help drive up vaccination rates in California and finally end a pandemic that has spread in the state for 18 months. She said such mandates were needed to help improve vaccination rates at a time when the coronavirus’ Delta variant is spreading quickly in the state.

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If formally drafted, the proposal would have been amended into Assembly Bill 455, which would have been enacted as soon as the Governor signs it.

However, the office of California Governor Gavin Newsom refused to take a particular stand on the matter and has declined when asked to comment on Wicks’ proposal. 

Previously, multiple sources have said they were pro-vaccine mandates in California. According to a CBS News poll, 67% of Californians believed that California businesses should be allowed to mandate vaccination on their employees. 

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