Bartels: Federal vaccine mandates are unconstitutional

Although written and ratified centuries ago, the U.S. Constitution remains a guiding force for lawmakers at all levels to both protect individual freedoms and guard against government overreach. President Joe Biden’s recent call for vaccine mandates on businesses nationwide, and hefty fines for those that refuse to comply, shows blatant disregard for the U.S. Constitution and is an indefensible overreach.

Federal mandates released in September would direct all employers with 100 or more employees to require vaccinations or weekly testing, and businesses that don’t comply could be fined $14,000 per violation. Federal employees, those who work with the federal government and certain health care workers are also required to comply with the mandate.

I strongly believe no entity – not the government and not a private business – should require someone to get a COVID-19 vaccine for employment. It should be left up to the individual.

The federal government does not have this power. The Tenth Amendment limits the powers of the federal government to only those granted in the Constitution, and those not listed are “reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

I support Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita in his stand against Biden’s mandates on behalf of our state. He’s currently reviewing all available legal avenues his office can take to stop the president’s actions. On the state level, I will continue to explore ways we can fight effectively to combat these federal mandates.

I support Hoosiers having access to the COVID-19 vaccine, but I believe this is a medical decision only you can make – not the federal government.

State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74, which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford, and Orange counties.


  1. Amen! This is 100% truth, not just opinion. We need more representatives like you, to stand up for our rights. Most employers are already short handed. If this vaccine becomes mandatory to the larger businesses it will really put them in a bind considering the number of employees that will refuse the vaccine and will quit their jobs because of it…..me included.

    1. These decisions by the US Supreme Court indicate vaccine mandates are indeed constitutional.
      For further understanding, please refer to the decisions made in these cases:
      Gibbon v. Ogden
      Slaughter-House Case
      Jacobson v. Massachusetts
      Zuch v. King.

    1. So our writer is strongly opposed to any privately owned business that takes measures it believes will ensure the health and safety of its employees, customers, and bottom line. Well, why then don’t you adopt the practice of your enlightened brethren in the enlightened state of Texas? They’re all against government mandates, except when they’re the ones imposing the mandate. The Texas legislature just passed a law forbidding private employers from requiring proof of vaccination or non-Covid status.

      So what do you say, Mr. Bartels? Would you be willing to carry a similar bill in our legislature? I mean, all mandates are not created equal . . . right?

  2. Science?….what about previously infected people? Do they need to get vaccinated? Research from the one of the greatest medical institutions in the world says no. Also, what about therapeutics? Monoclonal antibodies, ivermectin, etc. Why aren’t these offered at every hospital in this country? Very bizarre in my opinion

    1. If you have questions about health care issues, why aren’t you consulting with your doctor(s)?
      Asking for opinions of strangers doesn’t seem to be an efficient way to manage your health.

  3. Everyone is ignoring (purposely?) the rest of the sentence “Require vaccines OR WEEKLY TESTING”. So for those who are more afraid of a vaccine than actually getting COVID, all you need to do is get tested weekly. That’s it. No one is forcing a needle into your body.

    Stop being so dramatic and yelling about freedom, the Constitution and government overreach. It make you look and sound weak, pathetic, selfish and unpatriotic. That’s right. The majority of adults in this country are fully vaccinated and WE are the true Patriots because we care about our fellow citizens.

    We want to stop wearing masks, get all businesses back open, get everyone back to work, and finally get this pandemic behind us. This could have already been accomplished, except for those who want this country to keep struggling and even fail, all because Trump is no longer president. Think about that for a minute. Do you really believe if Trump was still president there would be ANY pushback against the vaccine?

    1. look up Hitlers approach to controlling people… Kindly i say open your eyes and ears and zip thy lip….

  4. Steve Bartels is just parroting the Republican stupidity. Hey, maybe it should be unconstitutional for kids to get the polio vaccine, too! Idiots.

      1. Oh no! Are people being *gasp* not kind to Republicans!

        Does being called stupid hurt your feelings, Tacotom?

        Frankly, what republicans ought to be called would never be approved on this website.

  5. Yes the Supreme Court of the United States have said that vaccine mandates are constitutional but let’s be realistic. You can’t pull out the U.S. Constitution on a Democrat and argue with it. Democrats do not care about the Constitution. We just watched them impeach Trump and the second time the Supreme Court refused to officiate the proceedings.

    Democrats argue that abortion is a constitutional protected right by liberal interpretation of the constitution. Their argument is what happens between a woman and her doctor is her business. I quote, ‘My body, my choice” of course using the same argument to refuse a vaccine shot is not a legal argument to a Democrat. Clearly a double standard, but then again if Democrats didn’t have a double standard, they would have no standards at all.

    Daryl Hensley, Jasper IN

    1. “The Dems are right but [conservative logical what-about-ism diarrhea]”

      But good thing you’ve thing you’ve admitted that coup attempts are constitutional. All the more evidence I need to say that conservatives aren’t to be trusted or taken in good faith.

    2. I find this very funny Daryl. I don’t remember the Dems trying a coup ten months ago… Do you? Wasnt that Trump and all his brainwashed followers?

      1. Every coup attempted in history required a weapon. Of course this coup was orchestrated by the FBI and only required smart phones for selfies and personal tours by the Capitol Police. The only victim was a unarmed woman shot by a Capitol Police officer who has a history of leaving his gun in bathrooms.

        But seriously, 674 people have been charged and 92 have plead guilty. None have been charged with insurrection.

        “About 44 percent of those accused in federal court as of Monday — 181 of 411 defendants — are charged solely with low-level crimes, primarily trespassing or disorderly conduct on restricted grounds, which typically don’t result in a jail or prison sentence for first-time offenders. Most of the Jan. 6 defendants have no serious criminal records.
        The riot “looked awful. It was awful,” said Jay Town, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, who is not involved in the cases. “But the criminal penalties associated with most of the offenses will not likely result in lengthy prison terms, especially if these individuals plead guilty and cooperate. And that’s how our system is supposed to work.” Washington Post


        If you look at the photos used to identify those charged, you will see that most came from hidden body cameras used by undercover agents mixed in with the idiots who rioted. This is the same group of agents mixed in with BLM and Antifa rioters around the country in 2020, which “Operation Legend”, resulted in “6000 arrests were conducted at the local, state, and federal level nationwide, and over 2600 firearms seized.” “147 murder suspects were arrested.”



        Daryl Hensley, Jasper IN

        1. Nothing but anti- American propaganda Daryl…. Only people like Mike Braun and Dick Moss believe this stuff.

          1. unfortunately Scott, I know two of the agents who were in the crowd. This undercover surveillance is not new. It is very effective in identifying idiots doing these riots. ANTIFA and BLM have had more practice. That is why they were masks helmets and long sleeve black clothing to make it difficult for the police to identify them. It allows them to get lost in the crowd of black clothing.

            The FBI agent involved in the Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping operation has been fired for beating his wife after a swingers party. There are currently 2 high level agents under indictment for conspiring to defraud the FISA Court. Our Federal law enforcement officers should be acting better than this.

            Speaking of conspiracies. No one has been arrested for insurrection or a coup attempt. Conspiracies theories exist on both sides of the political spectrum.



            Daryl Hensley, Jasper

        2. Ah yes. It’s clearly the FBI doings. Not the tantrum held by someone who can’t fathom losing an election. Not the people who planned the rally. Not the people who bussed people to the rally and bragged about it later. Not the people who gave tours to militia members. Not said tantrum haver telling the to “fight or they won’t have a country anymore”. Not the people who moved to the capitol carrying ever conservative emblem. Not the one who over powered a police barricade. Not the ones who built gallows specifically for Mike Pence. None of the people who broke down the doors in the Capitol who if they got there hands on any members of Congress would have given them a big hug. Nope none of those people.

          Conservatism is a mental illness. We need lobotomy mandates not vaccine mandates before they turn America into a nightmare theocratic Franco State of minority rule.

    3. So the Democrat’s are correct when they say vaccine mandates are constitutional, but don’t argue with them about it because they don’t understand what’s constitutional?

  6. I have been a public school teacher for over 30 years, and I understand and appreciate the “mandates” known as laws that require our children to be vaccinated, because it protects the child and all other children around them. The covid vaccine mandate does the same thing, protects all of us including the children that cannot be vaccinated yet, We expect our government leaders to provide us with the means to protect us as an entire community, and making the vaccine a requriment for employees of large companies will extend that protection so that we can get back to somewhat of a normal life.

    Mr. Rokita is bloviating about vaccine mandate to appeal to a self-centered group that has no regard for our state as a whole. A Representative that has a district that is made up of mostly rural areas with little access to health care facilities, should encourage everyone that can to get vaccinated. I would expect this of our local elected leaders who should be more in touch with their constituents.

    1. Unfortunately the vaccine does not prevent you from getting COVID and doesn’t prevent you from giving someone else COVID. It will boost your immune system so that those with weak immune systems might not die from COVID. In fact the vaccinated are creating the variants. That is why the FDA Panel has not approved the vaccine boosters for below age 65.

      Daryl Hensley, Jasper

      1. Daryl I didn’t know you were a doctor. Can you please send your research or links to how the vaccines causes the variants.

        Glad you got back on subject, and not spouting crazy Q conspiracy.

      2. It would be most helpful to those that appreciate accurate information, that you state real references to the comments you made regarding the spread of covid from vaccinated people. And by real, I mean accredited medical references, not some guy making YouTube videos.

        I do agree that vaccine boosters are needed for those under 65 because of age-related immunities. But the rest of your comment is completely false.

        1. Colin Powell was vaccinated and died from COVID. His immune system was destroyed with Chemotherapy thus the COVID vaccine could not boost his immunity enough to protect him from the virus.

          The CDC and the FDA do not know the individual medical histories of each potential person who may be resistant to getting the vaccine. This is why the mandate is corrupt. A person and their doctor should be making this call. Exemptions by your personal physician should be allowed. Politicians ( who are NOT doctors ) should show more wisdom and less tyranny. I am 62 years old and have a few medical conditions. I consulted my physician before being assured that the risk from the virus was greater than the risk from the shot. The reverse could be true for others. The liberty of working with a personal physician is at stake here. The same argument made before the Supreme Court in Roe vs Wade. COVID is a deadly flu. Depending on your age, the regular flu can be deadly. Continue to protect the elderly and those with medical conditions who have been advised by their physician to get the vaccine. Those without medical permission should have the right to not get the shot and if their career is in jeopardy they should qualify for a disability or retraining to a safer career at the tax payers expense as is the case today.

          Daryl Hensley, Jasper

          1. Daryl, please get you information correct. Colin Powell died from Covid because he had Mulitple Myeloma, a cancer of blood plasma cells. The vaccine for Covid is known to be extremely less effective for people that have Multiple Myeloma, and that is ultimately what cause him to contract Covid and die. Your false information regarding chemotherapy could cause someone to not get vaccinated if they have cancer. The American Cancer Society’s medical advisors all agree cancer patients should get vaccinated. By the way, the federal mandate comes with medical exception that can be validated by a real doctor.

            People have to put up with all kinds of medical requirements for work, unine tests, psychological screening, physical tests and on and on. This mandate is not unconstitutional nor out of the norm as a job requirement.

        2. Nobody has answered my question. What about those who were previously infected and recovered? Should they be mandated to be vaccinated?

        3. A common treatment for Myeloma is chemotherapy. Colin Powell was also treated for prostate cancer in 2003 and he received chemotherapy. Like I said, Powell’s immune system was to compromised to fight off COVID, even though he was vaccinated. On top of that, he was 84 years old and I believe all people over 60 whose doctors approve of them getting a vaccine should get one. My brother was 4 years younger than Colin Powell when he passed from COVID.

          I agree all cancer patients should be vaccinated if there doctor approves and should more than social distance to avoid getting the virus.


          Daryl Hensley, Jasper IN

      3. For Pete’s sake, Daryl. The vaccinated are creating the variants? Yeah, and down is up, right is wrong, black is white, and 2+2=5. I think you must have undergone a George Romney moment. You’ve been brainwashed.

        1. Scott I could have said that better. Being vaccinated doesn’t mean you can’t get COVID it just means your immune system is hopefully ramped up to fight the COVID pathogen. The vaccinated can still host the COVID pathogen and give it to others. That is why the unvaccinated should fear the vaccinated. If you are at risk (over 65 and have immunity problems) you should get the vaccine, if you get a green light from your personal physician. If you read some of the medical experts, COVID isn’t going away. It will mutate and America is an open country and the possibility of a mutated version of the virus will make it to our shores.

          Daryl Hensley, Jasper

      4. You’re not telling us anything we don’t know.
        No one ever stated vaccines prevent contracting Covid.
        Vaccines help prevent the spread and reduce the worst effects of the disease.

  7. Rep. Bartels, I will start believing you when you and the rest of the Legislature start doinig something serious to rein in that power-mad so-called Governor, Democrat in every way except for the “R” next to his name, friend of China, dictator wannabe, Eric Holcomb who will not stop with the executive orders.

    P.S. Todd Rokita is a self-serving bloviator who is in way over his head as Attorney General. Miss Curtis Hill yet? Thank Comrade Holcomb and his minions for Rokita being in the AG office now.

        1. You were asking medical advice on a opinion board….. I figured if that’s the standard of info you get these days Joe Rogan would be a step up.

          Daryl, your legs must be tired from all the walking back you’ve been doing.

  8. May I suggest a song to listen to? John Prine’s “Spanish Pipedream”.
    Blow up your TV (insert internet), throw away your paper (insert youtube), move to the country (or not), build you a home. Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches. Try to find Jesus, on your own.

    Focus on yourself, ya’ll. Washington is a, was a, will continue to be a, mess…. Don’t trust any politician (Dems or Reps), and vote for who you think will screw up the least.

    1. Republicans: kill 700,000 people and counting by sheer malicious apathy. Attempted to overthrow the government when their messiah lost a democratic election. Are actively turning their states into one party dictatorship and limiting the right to vote. Are cohorting with militias that are a few buzzwords away from starting something akin to the Rwandan genocide or the troubles.

      You: oh those politicians just being politicians. I’m going to stick my head in the sand and pretend nothing is going wrong.

      Maybe you’ll rethink your stance when Mike Braun bulldozes your house for his personal roadway or you are flogged in the town square for missing your daily prayers to God King Trump. Whichever comes first.

  9. My point, JK, is to demonstrate how sensationalism (either from the right or left) can cause fear which leads to more sensationalism.

    Mike Braun’s “highway” is hardly a personal one. Yes, his company will benefit! As will most if not all others in DuCo.

    Also, I pray to no one. Nor do I plan on it.

    1. I’m not sure what your more naive about. That you think you’ll get any benefit at all from the highway, or anything close to what Braun will get or that the conservatives in this area will tolerate anything but loyalty to their way of life.

      Either way, you best be prepared for what is coming. We’ve crossed the point of no return long ago.

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