Indianapolis News and HeadlinesIndiana Coronavirus News


Indy Chamber opposes bill that would limit business vaccine mandates in Indiana

Posted at 7:37 AM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 07:37:14-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indy Chamber opposes a bill Indiana House Republicans are moving forward with that would limit vaccine mandates by private employers.

House Bill 1001 would force businesses with vaccine mandates to grant an employee's medical or religious exemption. Republicans say it would protect employee rights.

Taylor Hughes, the director of strategy, policy and special projects for Indy Chamber, said it should be up to local businesses if they want to require vaccines for workers.

"We want to preserve for the employer to make that decision," Hughes said. "They are closer to these issues they are going to be able to make a better determination than at the state legislature level for what makes the most sense for the customers."

He said local businesses are short staffed and struggling to keep up with demand. The bill, Hughes said, adds to the problems by posing a risk to employers.

"It does and frankly that's a tough thing and moment in what businesses are just trying to do is create stability to make sure they can keep everybody safe and keep the doors open," Hughes said. "House Bill 1001 not only introduces potentially a penalty structure for a company that believes they need a vaccine requirement, but some significant administrative hurdles to be able to facilitate some things in that bill."

On the federal level, vaccine and testing requirements for large businesses were blocked Thursday by the Supreme Court.

While vaccine requirements for most health care workers are still in effect, Attorney Craig Wiley said exemptions can be requested.

"I know there has been some Union step in with the nurses, but at this point the court has spoken on that issue so the vaccine mandates will stand," Wiley said. "Now again, there is still the accommodation if you have a disability or a religious exemption."

On Thursday, Indiana lawmakers voted on amendments to the bill. The House is expected to vote on it next week.

Attorney General Todd Rokita has filed three lawsuits against the Biden Administration for the federal mandate.

"This (ruling) is a win for our work to protect the individual liberties of Hoosiers and all Americans," Rokita tweeted Thursday.