WACO, Texas — More than two dozen Republican lawmakers in Texas are looking to ban COVID-19 vaccine mandates by calling for a fourth special session.
A vaccine mandate ban was on the agenda for the third special session back in October, but it never made its way to law. Also in October, Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order banning any entity in Texas from mandating the vaccine.
Now, some Republicans want to make it permanent law. One of those Republicans is Texas state representative Charles "Doc" Anderson, of the 56th district based in McLennan County.
"I support vaccinations but when the government comes and says, 'You will do this," or 'You will do that,' it changes things for a lot of folks," Anderson told 25 News. "So, it should be a decision that's made by the individual."
Anderson said the session is needed now to prevent more people from losing their jobs if they fail to comply with vaccine mandates. The next regular session of the Texas Legislature is not scheduled until January 2023.
"You jeopardize retirement, you jeopardize healthcare, you jeopardize your family," Anderson said.
The McLennan County Democratic Party said re-opening the legislature again would be prioritizing politics over public health.
"As citizens of this community, we owe it to the other citizens of this community to do what helps them stay safe," said McLennan County Democratic Party chair Mary Duty.
A concern for both parties is the cost to taxpayers.
"Is the cost of the special session gonna be worth protecting the potential loss of working Texans?" said Christopher DeCluitte, vice-chair of the McLennan County Republican Party.
The decision is completely up to Governor Abbott. If called, it would be the first time since 2004 that the Texas Legislature reaches four special sessions.