COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Trucking Association said it opposes a new House bill that prohibits employers from setting their own workplace COVID-19 vaccination policies.

The bill, H.3126, was passed by the South Carolina House Ways and Means Committee. It was amended to prohibit businesses owners from setting their own vaccination policies for workers.

The group said Thursday they are against a federal vaccine mandate but are not anti-vaccine. They believe the issue should be discussed on the state level and should be left up to businesses if they wish to keep workers safe from contracting the virus.

“Our organization generally opposes government mandates. This amended legislation is a mandate of sorts; it’s a mandated prohibition on the rights of free enterprise,” said Rick Todd, President & CEO of the South Carolina Trucking Association.

Todd said South Carolina businesses have been allowed most freedoms, to promote free enterprise, and to let private markets work. “So, this prohibits business owners’ freedom to establish their own workplace vaccination policy decisions, and sets up an erosion of freedoms, owner rights, and their ability to establish their own conditions for employment,” he said.

He feels the “no-win” situation will create more conflict in the individual workplace and could open any business to lawsuits.

“We assert that businesses should be able to keep the right to set their own conditions for employment, and people can choose what’s in their own best interest,” Todd said.

He said should the policy move forward; the state legislature must immunize businesses from lawsuits related to COVID and workplace safety and health. “And realize that they have changed the course of SC’s business climate.”

The South Carolina Trucking Association is a non-profit trade association that represents all sections of the economy that relies on integral supply chain services.