Special Business and Labor Interim Committee
Listening to public comment regarding Biden’s vaccine mandate
On Monday, October 4, the Business and Labor Interim Committee heard from Utahns for over three and a half hours during a special hearing regarding the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate or weekly testing requirement for businesses with 100+ employees. More than 600 individuals attended the hearing in person and over 230 participated online, making it the largest public hearing in the state legislature’s history.
In Utah, about 3% of employers have more than 100 workers and would need to comply with the Biden administration’s requirements. According to state estimates, about 65% of Utahns are employed at companies with more than 100 employees.
Before opening to public comment, members of the attorney general’s office and individuals from the executive branch spoke at the hearing. The attorney general’s office shared their intentions to bring legal action to contend President Biden’s mandate. Melissa Holyoak, the solicitor general, shared that the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) process has only been used nine times since 1983, six of which have been challenged and only one upheld. “Courts are very skeptical of the ETS,” she says.
In addition, business associations and owners impacted by the requirements shared their support for the vaccine but adamant disapproval of a mandate. Many companies have employees who will leave if forced to comply with vaccine or testing requirements, putting companies in difficult situations when most are already struggling with labor shortages. Spencer Young, president of the Young Automotive Group, shared that if his company were to enforce the mandate, they would lose as much as 30% of their workforce.
The rest of the meeting was for members of the public to voice their opinions. Out of all the Utahns who testified, less than ten people spoke in favor of the federal vaccine and testing requirement. The overwhelming majority shared concerns of losing their jobs, losing employees and losing freedoms due to the mandate.
Thank you to the Utahns who took time out of their day to come and testify at the meeting. We will continue to update the public with new information as we receive it.
View pictures from the meeting here.