On Friday, Wyoming and 10 other states filed a lawsuit to halt the emergency temporary standard for vaccines issued by President Joe Biden’s administration, Gov. Mark Gordon’s office announced.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is mandating vaccines on employees of private Wyoming businesses with over 100 employees. A petition for judicial review was filed in the U. S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, and a motion for stay is expected to be filed early next week.
Additionally, Wyoming and several other states filed a motion for preliminary injunction in the previously filed suit against the Biden administration regarding vaccine mandates for federal contractors. The coalition of states is asking the court to stop the Biden administration from taking any action to implement or enforce the federal contractor vaccine mandate.
“These legal actions are essential to stopping the unconstitutional mandates from the Biden Administration. This is a result of the hard work by our Attorney General,” Gordon said. “I thank General [Bridget] Hill and her team for their efforts to protect the rights of Wyoming citizens and her industries. We have been preparing for this battle and, as promised, we are now joined in the fight to protect our civil liberties. Rest assured I am committed to using every tool possible to oppose these unlawful federal policies.”
Friday’s lawsuit challenges the emergency temporary standard adopted by OSHA which requires private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate their employees get vaccinated or implement weekly testing and mask requirements.
Non-compliant businesses could potentially face steep fines.
According to Robin Sessions Cooley, director of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, a total of 106,462 individuals in Wyoming work for private and public employers with at least 100 employees, which means 41.7% of the total Wyoming workforce and 18.5% of the total population of Wyoming would be covered by the mandate.
“This mandate is unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise,” the petition stated. “The federal government lacks constitutional authority under its enumerated powers to issue this mandate, and its attempt to do so unconstitutionally infringes on the States’ powers expressly reserved by the 10th Amendment. OSHA also lacks statutory authority to issue this mandate, which it shoe-horned into statutes that govern workplace safety, and which were never intended to federalize public-health policy.”
The lawsuit is asking the court for an immediate stay pending judicial review.
The states in this suit are Missouri, Nebraska, Montana, Arizona, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
“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 ‘they are matters that do not ordinarily concern the national government.’ Until quite recently, the Biden Administration agreed,” the petition said. “The White House stated…that mandating vaccines is ‘not the role of the federal government.’ But on September 9, 2021, that position underwent a dramatic reversal.”
The details of the rules needed to put the mandate in place were released Thursday.
Gordon’s announcement came two days after Wyoming’s Legislature completed its special session aimed at charting the state’s response to the mandates.
Of the 20 bills proposed for review during the session, only one won final approval. It would prohibit state and local public entities from enforcing a federal mandate, but it would not take effect until a federal court, in response to legal action, blocks the mandate.