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Arkansas PoliticsHealthcare/Covid-19

Slippery Ways Legislators May Support Vaccine Mandates

by Conduit For Action

Senator Bob Ballinger and Senator Trent Garner have filed legislation to help workers who are about to be forced out of their jobs because of vaccine mandates. Other legislators may join these two Senators in filing legislation.

Some big corporations like Walmart, Tyson, and some hospitals are requiring employees to submit to the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition for keeping their jobs. Some workers will lose their jobs on October 1 or soon thereafter.

How will mandate supporters and those in the pocket of the big corporations try to stop the legislation?

A first attempt to kill the legislation might be in the form of a ruling that the legislation is not germane to the extended session, despite the extension resolution clearly including issues concerning the COVID-19 health emergency. If it comes to a vote on germaneness, vaccine supporters will try to cover themselves by claiming they were only voting on a procedural issue and not against the legislation. DON’T BE FOOLED.

The primary effort to stop the legislation will be in Senate committee where 5 of 9 committee members must vote for the legislation for it to move to the full Senate. Expect the despicable practice of voting by voice vote to be tried in committee. Legislators who want to kill a bill love the voice vote because there is no official record of their vote.

In committee or before the full Senate or House, there are three ways to vote against legislation.

  1. VOTING NO. The braver supporters of the vaccine mandates will vote “no.”
  2. VOTING PRESENT. Some mandate supporters will try to ride the fence by voting “present” but a vote of present has the exact same effect as voting “no” because it works against the legislation getting the needed majority vote.
  3. NOT VOTING. Some legislators will slip out and “not vote.” Not voting also has the same effect as a “no” vote because it works against the legislation getting the needed majority vote. Of those who don’t vote, expect excuses such as “Something important delayed me or “I had an excused absence.

It is exceedingly rare for an emergency to come up so quickly that the legislator cannot take advantage of a procedure to allow him or her to vote despite being absent. An absent legislator can vote through a simple procedure called, “Pairing.” Under paring a legislator who will be absent but who wants to vote on one side of an issue can have his or her vote paired with a legislator who will be voting on the other side.  It is a simple act of courtesy between legislators which allows everyone to vote.

In the House of Representatives, Speaker Matthew Shepherd, was criticized by the Club for Growth for having a poor record of voting. He explained under the House rules the Speaker is not required to vote. Actually, no legislator is required to vote and when they don’t vote it acts as a “no” vote because it works against the legislation getting the needed majority.

On legislation to stop employer vaccine mandates, pay attention to whether your legislator votes “FOR” the legislation or supports the vaccine mandates by taking one of three actions: “NO,” “PRESENT,” or “NOT VOTING.”

According to Conduit For Commerce these votes will be reported in its next scorecard.

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