Rep. Patricia Mueller: No to government vaccine mandates

Published 6:30 am Saturday, September 25, 2021

This past summer, I fielded questions about the consequences of a vaccine mandate. Some believe that it is best for the common protection of the general public.

I believe sweeping vaccine mandates are inappropriate for the state or federal government to implement. Medical decisions are personal and should be between you, your family, and your doctor. The government should not use mandates to coerce its citizens to participate in medical procedures, research, or treatment. I am not anti-vaccine. On the contrary, the medical advances that we have made in the past 100 years have extended life expectancy and improved millions of lives.

Mandates are the problem.

From the moment I was elected, I have been committed to maintaining a direct relationship between employees and employers. Burdensome government mandates hurt both employers through increased expenditures and employees through decreased opportunities or wages. As a conservative, this core principle of limited government is essential to allow both employees and employers to thrive through innovation and collaboration. Does this mean that an employer can mandate you to take a vaccine? What is the function of government in this situation?

The truth is that employers do not have unlimited power over employees because there are discrimination laws. An employer must provide a safe working environment, cannot require a burdensome amount of work, and cannot discriminate based on sex, marital status, skin color, or sexual orientation. As I talk to constituents, many suggest placing vaccine status as an addition to the discrimination laws. I agree. This is why I have signed on to HF 1244 authored by Rep. Lucero, which states “it is an unfair discriminatory practice to discriminate against an individual for the individual’s vaccine status. For the purposes of this section, ‘vaccine status’ is either having taken a vaccine to immunize against contagious disease, or not having taken a vaccine to immunize against contagious disease.” This bill was introduced in February of 2021.

Often we see politicians and activists using the power of the state to dictate to the people or businesses because it will protect others from themselves. But people have free agency and free will. Those who want the COVID-19 vaccine still have the choice to get it. The only way democracy works is if each side is trusted to do their part, and that means allowing the people to keep themselves and their neighbors safe, instead of mandating exactly how they do that.