LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — After President Joe Biden announced a mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers must require them to be vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19, several Arkansas Republicans voiced their opposition to the rules.
The new federal vaccine requirements will impact about 100 million Americans as an effort to increase the vaccination rate as the delta variant continues a surge in new cases across the country.
Biden said that the unvaccinated minority "can cause a lot of damage and they are."
In a statement, Governor Asa Hutchinson said while he "fully supports" efforts to increase vaccination rates, he said the "federal government mandates on private businesses are not the right answer."
"I have been consistent in the freedom of businesses to require their employees to be vaccinated," Hutchinson said, "and I have opposed the government from saying businesses cannot exercise that freedom."
State Senator Trent Garner has called for another special session, saying that Arkansas needs to "pass a law immediately."
"We must fight back against this massive government overreach," Garner said.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said that the president "continues to make atrocious decisions for America" and said that "no one should be forced to get the vaccine."
On Twitter, State Sen. Jason Rapert said he will "#NeverBowDown" and urged "every American to stand against this unprecedented power grab."
Congressman Bruce Westerman called the mandates an "ill-conceived, divisive executive action" and "another example of government overreach."
In 1905, the United States Supreme Court upheld a compulsory vaccination law in Massachusetts. In the 7-2 ruling, Justice John Marshall Harlan said "the rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand."
We will update this article with more quotes and statements as they become available.