The Arkansas state motto, "Regnat populus," means that the people rule. But in this special legislative session for COVID-related matters, it was the special interests that ruled. Who needs blue states when even in red states, we no longer enjoy even the post-constitutional liberties we had in February 2020, before we lost the autonomy over our own bodies?
Thus far, there is only one state that has a categorical ban on the mandates of these failed COVID shots. Montana passed a bill (HB 702) earlier this year that would do just that, although even there they exempted certain health care settings, which is actually the most illogical place to mandate even a working and safe shot because most of the workers already had the virus. Yet in other states, we can't even pass protections in a compromise form of that bill, despite Republicans controlling 23 trifectas.
As I reported last week, the legislative leaders, working at the behest of Governor Asa Hutchinson and the big business lobbyists in the state, blocked most of the legislation that would ensure workers are not forced to get a dangerous and ineffective shot. The only bill that they allowed to pass to partially protect some workers would only go into effect in 90 days, when it will be too late for most workers who must decide now between taking the shot or losing their jobs.
Well, the House of Representatives ended this special session with a bang by voting down SB731, a bill that would create a right to privacy of medical status to ensure employers cannot ask about vaccination status. We have such protections under current law for other forms of medical privacy, and to exempt vaccine mandates from medical privacy is particularly absurd because in no way does an unvaccinated person affect someone else's health. If the shots work, then the people who want them are protected. Given that, of course, they don't work, and in fact, the vaccinated are now spreading the virus more and with at least the same viral load, there is no rational basis to allow this form of discrimination.
SB 731 would have further provided a cause of action for workers to sue any employer who violates that right to privacy. If businesses, at the behest of government, believe these shots are safe, then let them place their money where their mouths are. Republicans have a 78-22 majority in the House, yet they could only muster 41 votes in support of the bill! It previously passed the Senate 22-11.
Thus, all these governors who said "not in my state" to Biden's mandate are paper tigers, because with the exception of official state employees, most red-state workers are now under the gun of some form of vaccine mandate. It is shocking how, as most states convene special sessions for redistricting, they are not even considering the more urgent issue of mandates over our bodies for an increasingly problematic shot. How is it that most red states aren't even considering a version of Montana's bill?
Moreover, states have gotten billions of dollars in COVID funding, yet state legislatures have barely engaged in oversight over that funding. Instead, it's all been controlled by the health department bureaucrats in each state. Shouldn't those funds be spent on helping people with early treatment rather than pumping them into promotion of a failed shot and dangerous hospital treatments?
At the end of the month, Tennessee lawmakers will finally convene a special session on COVID fascism. This is the perfect opportunity for people to have their voices heard and ensure that one of the most trending red states actually lives up to its reputation. How is it that even in a state like Wyoming, months after mask-wearing has been completely discredited, a student was arrested for not wearing a Chinese face burka?
If you can acquiesce to the notion that someone else can control what you put in your body – whether government or an employer – then you don't own your body. If we acquiesce to the notion that large businesses acting in concert with government actors to promote authoritarianism are somehow governed by the rules of the "private sector," then we have no liberty left in this country.