TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — As Republican lawmakers push back at Biden’s vaccine mandate in Kansas, similar conversations are underway in the nation’s capital.
In the latest push, U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., introduced a bill to ban the dishonorable discharge of unvaccinated service members.
“We want to make sure that they get an honorable discharge despite the situation,” Sen. Marshall said.
Marshall explained that dishonorable discharges could lead to a slew of ongoing issues for soldiers and their families. It includes surrendering rights to access their GI bill to continue education, losing medical benefits and home loans.
The bill would prohibit the Department of Defense (DOD) from giving servicemembers a dishonorable discharge for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
While no action has been taken yet, Marshall told the Kansas Capitol Bureau on Monday that the bill is already gaining support in both the House and Senate.
Meanwhile, at the statehouse, lawmakers on the state’s Legislative Coordinating Council voted to form a committee to keep the President’s proposal in check. The special committee is set to investigate government overreach and the impact of COVID-19 mandates.
It comes as widespread protests have erupted across the country and in Kansas, as vaccine mandates for healthcare workers and small businesses emerge.
The state’s Republican leaders said the outrage prompted them to take action.
“A lot of Kansans are upset with the speech that our president gave talking about some of these mandates that are coming down,” said Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman. “We really want to make sure Kansas is in the best position if his actions do match the speech. We want to know what we’re able to do to stop the federal mandates.”
Some Democrats in the state have been outspoken about their wish to see President Biden’s mandate prevail, as high virus transmission levels ravage communities.
The state’s Senate Minority Leader, Dinah Sykes, D-Lenexa, expressed her concerns over the move.
“We’ve had 6,000 deaths in Kansas because of COVID. I just don’t want this committee to politicize this anymore, and we need to have solutions. How do we get out of this?” said Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes.
However, ultimately, the motion passed without anyone voting against it.
Supporters said this is a way to save tax dollars by preventing a special legislative session from addressing the matter.