Oklahoma lawmakers blast vaccine mandates
ATOKA, Okla. (KTEN) — Elected officials who represent southeastern Oklahoma were brought together by Atoka's Chamber of Commerce for a legislative luncheon on Thursday.
Representatives spoke on a number of topics, including vaccine mandates, recreational marijuana, human trafficking, and broadband availability.
All of the elected leaders said President Biden is wrong to push for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate at businesses and hospitals.
"If you want to be vaccinated, that is completely your choice," said state Rep. Justin Humphrey (R-District 19). "The government is made up of 'We the People' ... Compare this to other pandemics that we've had, and we've not taken these rash stances; we've not shut down the country."
State Sen. David Bullard (R-District 6) also stands against vaccine mandates.
"You do have a right of privacy, and you do have a right of conscience, and that translates to mean that nobody can really mandate you to get a vaccine," Bullard said.
On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a federal vaccine and testing mandate for large businesses, but let stand a similar regulation for health care providers.
Elected officials also touched on their views about several Oklahoma school districts moving to virtual learning in the wake of surging COVID cases.
"We've made sure that there's plenty of funding for the schools to develop their own contingency plans, but I fully expect that even with the current spike that it will subside soon," said House Speaker Charles McCall (R-District 22).
Bullard said while he wants schools to get back to in-person teaching, he understands the challenges they are facing right now.
"I commend the schools for fighting trying to stay in person as much as possible, and when you have to go virtual, go virtual," he said. "But get back as fast as you can, and that's exactly what they've done."