This month, Rep. Dan Caulkins saw an Illinois parallel to the recent Supreme Court decision that struck down the Biden administration's vaccine mandate for businesses with over 100 employees.
The legislation, a highly controversial executive action, has been the subject of fiery political debate over the past couple of months as the Biden administration tries to reel in the COVID-19 pandemic and the GOP continues to push back on anything that the party views as an infringement upon the rights of citizens.
On Jan. 13, the Supreme Court decided that business owners would be the ones to decide whether their workers must be vaccinated or not. The decision did not extend to healthcare workers.
"The United States Supreme Court decided that the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on employers with over 100 employees is unconstitutional," Caulkins said. Strangely enough, the Pritzker administration a couple of weeks ago, not wanting to wait for this decision to come, decided to issue their own vaccine mandates."
Though the Biden mandate has been struck down, state-level mandates could certainly occur. They are likely to be met with legal challenges, as well. In early January, as Caulkins pointed out, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a requirement that business owners with 100 or more employees adopt a policy that businesses require a vaccine or testing and masks for their employees, WCIA reported. The mandate goes into effect on Feb. 24.
The move comes as little surprise as Pritzker recently cheered municipalities that put proof of vaccine mandates in place, NBC5 Chicago reported.
“I think the city and the county are doing the right thing for the people of the city and the county,” he said. “Anybody who’s willing to step up and make the tough calls….at the city level and at the county level, I applaud.”
As Democrats and the GOP continue to wrestle over where to draw the line, Caulkins sees a clear one.
"Look the pandemic does not erase the rights of the individuals under our constitution," Caulkins said. "Yes the pandemic is serious public health threat, but our response to the virus must be done within the context of the constitutional rights which are innate to every American citizen. You know there's no compelling reason to force these interventions on more than 80 million workers across the country who would have been subject to Biden's vaccine mandate."