ARKANSAS, USA — Governor Asa Hutchinson held a news briefing on Thursday, Nov. 4, afternoon to discuss President Biden’s January 4 federal vaccine mandate deadline.
This mandate counteracts an already in motion Arkansas law, Senate Bill 739, which gives Arkansas workers exemptions if they choose not to get vaccinated. Workers do have the option of presenting a negative COVID-19 test or proof of natural antibodies. Back in October, the governor decided not to sign this bill.
"This is the first time in the history of our country that a federal mandate has been issued that impacts broad swifts of the American population," Hutchinson said. "I oppose these mandates on the freedom that businesses should have to run their workplace."
The federal mandate says employers with 100 or more employees must get vaccinated or face routine COVID testing and possible fines.
While the Senate bill is set to be law early next year, federal law supersedes state law and the governor says he isn’t going without a fight.
“Let me finally articulate some action items that we want to follow up on. First of all, we intend to fight the federal mandate that has been passed down. We’ll fight in a couple of different directions," Hutchinson said. "First of all as I spoke with the attorney general we will support the litigation effort and challenging the OSHA rules that she anticipates filing shortly."
Governor Hutchinson is not alone, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is speaking out saying the vaccine rule is illegal and she will also help fight it in federal court.