Nobody tell the truckers, but Oakland state Assemblymember Buffy Wicks just unveiled a bill that would require every single employee in the state of California to be fully vaccinated.
As of press time for this article, the state of California is 73.7% fully vaccinated (that is, among the population ages five and up who are eligible for the vaccine). Of course, “fully vaccinated” only means two shots, when it really now ought to require the third shot for full vaccination status. But Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) is choosing a bigger fight. The Bay Area News Group reports that Wicks has introduced a statewide vaccination mandate for all employees, no matter their job or the size of their company.
“Workers deserve to be safe,” Wicks told the news group. “There are many jobs that can’t be done remotely.”
The U.S. Supreme Court shot down the Biden Administration's vaccine mandate in January. And now here on the state and local level, several counties will drop the mask mandate for vaccinated people next week, with a seemingly unconscionable “honors system” in which you absolutely goddamned know that unvaccinated people will go maskless indoors. The only people who will remain masked will be the fully vaccinated people! So you have an emboldened unvaccinated community, with fewer tools to keep them in line. So yes, theoretically, Wicks’ mandate could serve a useful purpose.
But cue the histrionics from the conservative side. “Are we forcing [people] to become homeless? How is that good policy?,” Contra Costa County GOP chair Matt Shupe told the Bay Area News Group. “I think a bill like this only doubles down on the division and the fighting and it’s really unfortunate.”
Ah yes, the Republican party that is so opposed to division and fighting.
The mandate is a great idea, if not nearly a year too late. But even in a best-case scenario, it probably could not go into effect until September 2022 at the very earliest. According to the Bay Area News Group, “The proposal, from a group of Democratic lawmakers, is part of a broader package of legislation aimed at limiting the spread of the deadly virus.”