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Republican States Defy Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

November 5, 2021 by Tom Ramstack
In this Oct. 5, 2021, file photo a healthcare worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

ST. LOUIS — Traditional Republican states showed their opposition to the Biden administration’s announcement Thursday of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate by filing lawsuits to oppose it only a day later.

The mandate orders companies with at least 100 employees to require their workers to be vaccinated by Jan. 4 or face fines. Their only other option is to pay for their employees to get tested weekly.

The mandate authorizes the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to fine businesses that fail to enforce the guidelines $14,000 per infraction. It would apply to about 84 million workers nationwide.

The lawsuit filed by 11 states in St. Louis says the mandate violates the 10th Amendment rights of states to decide how they protect the health and safety of their residents.

“For over a century, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that policies on compulsory vaccination lie within the police powers of the States, and that ‘[t]hey are matters that do not ordinarily concern the national government,’ ” the lawsuit in the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals says.

The Texas attorney general filed a separate lawsuit that follows the same reasoning.

“The Biden Administration’s new vaccine mandate on private businesses is a breathtaking abuse of federal power,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

Also on Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he plans to sue over the vaccine mandate.

All of the lawsuits seek an injunction to block OSHA from enforcing it.

Separately, South Carolina’s governor said he would issue an order forbidding all state agencies from carrying out the vaccine mandate.

“It is unprecedented, it is unlawful and it is just plain wrong,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “The president of the United States is telling you you’ve got to get a vaccination that perhaps you do not want for whatever reason.”

A White House spokeswoman defended the mandate by saying, “Actions announced by the president are designed to save lives and prevent COVID.”

States participating in the St. Louis lawsuit are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Tom can be reached at [email protected]

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