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If Texas bans the COVID-19 vaccine requirement, will that override the federal mandate that most Texas workers must get the shots?

It’s a classic showdown between the U.S. Constitution and laws made by state legislature.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate is expected to begin debate next week on a law that would ban businesses in the state from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees.

Gov. Greg Abbott is pushing for the law after issuing an Executive Order earlier this week that bans organizations from requiring the vaccinations for their workers.

Even though the current special session of Texas legislature ends Tuesday, the governor is expected to call another special session in order to get the law approved.

But a ban on COVID-19 vaccination requirements in Texas would put the governor in direct opposition to President Joe Biden, who signed an executive order that requires businesses with more than 100 employees to either require COVID-19 vaccinations, or require weekly testing for those who choose not to get vaccinated.

So, which side wins?

As you probably learned in high school, federal law supersedes state law because of the Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution.

“Which of these regulations must an employer abide by the Texas order or the federal order? The answer is a federal order because of the supremacy clause," said Richard Albert, University of Texas at Austin Law School constitutional law professor. "So all private employers have to make sure that their employers are vaccinated and that they also have the choice, of course, to require unvaccinated employees to submit to weekly tests.”

The governor’s ban on vaccine mandates has drawn opposition from business leaders and health care providers, and it’s likely going to be challenged in the courts.

“There is no way that the Texas governor order will prevail,” Albert said. “There is no way that the Texas law, if it's passed by the legislature, will prevail because the supremacy clause does not permit that to happen under law. The Texas governor, I think, is perhaps scoring a victory politically with this executive order, but under law, he's just on the wrong side of the fence."


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