Proposed federal mandates for coronavirus vaccinations are offensive to Wyoming residents and must be addressed, Gov. Mark Gordon said Tuesday.
Gordon, in welcoming comments to the Legislature as it convened for its 3-day special session, said the vaccination requirements proposed by the administration of President Joe Biden is a form of federal overreach that is opposed by Wyoming residents.
“It has been hard to stomach the increasingly aggressive license the Biden Administration has taken over the past few months to extend the federal government’s overreach into our lives,” Gordon said in his prepared comments. “This temerity is offensive to me, to you, to Wyoming citizens, and to the Constitution that enumerates our rights. It must be stopped.”
Legislators met Tuesday to begin the special session aimed at preparing Wyoming’s response to the proposed mandates, which would require federal employees, health care workers and workers for companies that employ 100 or more people.
Bills filed for consideration would take steps such as prohibiting employers from discriminating against those who have not been vaccinated or creating exemptions to the federal requirements.
Gordon referred to the administration’s mandate and the pending release of federal labor rules to put it in place as “blackmail.”
“I am incensed that the Biden administration would have the audacity to mandate that private employers require their employers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and find it unconscionable to threaten to withhold Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements unless mandates are enforced,” he said. “Using taxpayer dollars in an attempt to coerce compliance is nothing more than blackmail.”
Gordon said Attorney General Bridget Hill is working with other states to prepare for possible legal action against what he called federal overreach.
Gordon urged the Legislature to address proposed legislation quickly in charting the state’s response to the rules.
“I appreciate the challenges you have ahead of you to be both thoughtful and to act urgently with purpose and merit,” he said. “I look forward to seeing the fruits of your labor and will review them carefully and without prejudice, as is customary.”