California assemblymember proposes bill mandating businesses require employees get vaccinated

Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) is among California lawmakers introducing legislation to mandate all businesses require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. She says this is the way out of the pandemic's perpetual uncertainly that has persisted for nearly two years. 

The bill would make the Golden State the first in the country to mandate such a requirement from all businesses no matter the size. The bill applies to workers and independent contractors. If they do not comply, the business faces undetermined fines. Medical and religious exemptions would be allowed, as determined by Cal/OSHA, according to the text of the bill. 

"Keeping our community safe is our top charge as elected officials, that's why I'm introducing (hashtag) AB1993 to mandate all businesses require employees to get vaccinated," the legislator tweeted on Friday. 

On KTVU's The Four, Wicks clarified that this is about keeping workers safe and ensuring the economy can stay open. 

Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Evan Low (D-Campbell) Dr. Akilah Weber (D-La Mesa) stand together, along with co-authors of the bill. 

In her Twitter thread arguing that vaccines keep us safe, Wicks, without being specific, said hospitals are "at capacity" with unvaccinated COVID patients. 

"I recognize the challenges facing businesses — they don’t need to be pulled into a political debate, they want certainty. Many challenges are a function of people having to make choices in light of all the whiplash. Vaccines are the key to stabilizing the ground beneath our feet," Wicks tweeted.

The whiplash she's referring to is the back and forth on mask and vaccine mandates, along with testing guidelines. But on The Four, she said the vaccine mandate would help add stability to what has proven to be an unpredictable disease.

Politico reports the bill will go through committee hearings this spring.

President Biden had announced a similar coronavirus vaccine mandate last year, but it was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court