Texas Governor Abbott bans vaccine mandates in state

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021:

Texas bans mandated vaccines

Texas on Monday became the first state to go on the offensive in response to President Joe Biden's quest to boost the economy and reduce COVID infections and deaths through a vaccine or testing requirement for certain employers.

Last month President Biden charged Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with developing and implementing a rule that would have employers with 100 or more workers to require COVID vaccines or regular testing. The move is expected to impact more than 80 million unvaccinated workers in private sector businesses with 100 employees or more.

According to the Mayo Clinic, as of Oct. 11, 65.5% of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 56.6% are fully vaccinated.

Many states have promised to fight the requirement if it comes to pass. Some states have passed rules against involuntary mask use or enforcing mandates on certain segments – like teachers and healthcare workers – or requiring vaccine passports, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott's initiative is broader. 

In his executive order, Abbott said that "no entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination by any individual, including an employee or consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19."

Abbott also sent a message to the the Chief Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate adding this issue as an item to the Third Special Session agenda.

"The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced," Abbott said via statement. 

Texas is home to more truck drivers than any other state in the U.S., and is behind only California with regard to number of trucking companies.

[Related: One way Biden's vax mandate could benefit small carriers: An edge on growth

Cowen, AFS launch new freight index

Cowen Research and 3PL/freight audit and payment company AFS Logistics announced this week the launch of the Cowen/AFS Freight Index.

The Freight Index will serve to provide Cowen’s clients with predictive pricing tools for multiple sectors within the freight industry on a quarterly basis. The Freight Index will provide a performance snapshot of less-than-truckload shipping, full truckload shipping, and parcel shipping (both express and ground, separately).

This data will be featured in Cowen’s air freight and surface transportation equity research. Jason Seidl, Cowen’s Senior Analyst for Airfreight & Surface Transportation, is leading the initiative. 

Applying advanced analytics including machine learning algorithms, AFS and Cowen developed models that dig deeper into data collected via relationships with the 3PL's partner carriers.

;Related: Rising load-to-truck ratios, revenue per mile increases seen so far this year]

Iowa 80 hosting flu shot clinics this month

Two flu shot clinics will be held this month at the Iowa 80 Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa.

The clinics will be walk-in only, and no appointments are needed. They will be held in the Iowa 80 Truckstop main building on the third floor.

Dates and times for the clinics are:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2-5 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 21, 7-10 a.m.
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