In light of COVID-19 vaccine mandates slowing down parts of the economy in a number of states, on Monday evening, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a new executive order that will ban the mandates in Texas.

The governor's office summarizes this new executive order: "That no entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination by any individual, including an employee or consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19."

"The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced," said Governor Abbott.

The main portion of the executive order, which outlines the prohibition of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in Texas, reads:

"1. No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19. I hereby suspend all relevant statutes to the extent necessary to enforce this prohibition.

"2. The maximum fine allowed under Section 4 1 8. 173 of the Texas Government Code and the State’ s emergency management plan shall apply to any “failure to comply with” this executive order. Confinement in jail is not an available penalty for violating this executive order.

"3. This executive order shall supersede any conflicting order issued by local officials in response to the COVID-19 disaster. Pursuant to Section 418.016(a) of the Texas Government Code, I hereby suspend Sections 418.1015(b) and 418.108 of the Texas Government Code, Chapter 8 1 , Subchapter E of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and any other relevant statutes, to the extent necessary to ensure that local officials do not impose restrictions in response to the COVID-19 disaster that are inconsistent with this executive order.

"This executive order does not supersede Executive Orders GA-13, GA-37, GA-38, or GA39. This executive order shall remain in effect and in full force unless it is modified, amended, rescinded, or superseded by the governor. This executive order may also be amended by proclamation of the governor."

In addition, Governor Abbott also added a new agenda item to the Third Special Session of the 87th Texas Legislature, encompassing the subject of this executive order. Right now, the Texas Legislature is meeting in a special session to take care of redistricting based off of the 2020 Census.

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