27 State Attorneys General Ask OSHA to Withdraw Coronavirus Vaccine Mandate

FILE - Syringes with doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are shown next to vaccination cards March 13, 2021, in Seattle. The District of Columbia government is imposing a series of COVID-19 vaccine mandates as it intensifies virus protocols in response to spiraling infection numbers and the march of the …
Ted S. Warren, File/AP

Attorneys general in 27 states sent a letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Wednesday, asking the agency to withdraw its coronavirus vaccine mandate for large employers.

Kentucky Attorney General Cameron, who led the effort, said:

In response to our lawsuit challenging the OSHA vaccine mandate, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Biden Administration and OSHA lack the authority to mandate vaccines for hundreds of thousands of employees in Kentucky. In light of the ruling from our nation’s highest court, it is my hope that the Biden Administration will respect the court’s decision and withdraw the current OSHA mandate.

The letter followed a 6-3 decision by the Supreme Court last week, which halted President Joe Biden’s OSHA vaccine mandate for businesses with 100-plus employees while the mandate is being challenged in the Sixth Circuit.

OSHA has not withdrawn its emergency temporary standard (ETS) following the Supreme Court’s ruling. In the letter, the attorneys general “described the detrimental effect that the OSHA mandate will have on employers and businesses if it goes into effect.”

“The ETS fails to adequately consider the widespread economic damage the vaccine mandate may cause. This impact will be especially felt by vulnerable small businesses if a permanent standard applies to them,” the letter reads.

The coalition also wrote that the current OSHA mandate is unlawful because the agency does not have the authority to issue a broad vaccine mandate for larger employers:

[T]he [Occupational Safety and Health] Act was designed to address dangers employees face at work because of their work—not dangers that are no more prevalent at work than in society generally. The United States Supreme Court agrees and held that the ETS—or any similar permanent standard for that matter—fails to address a unique workplace hazard and is therefore unlawful.

The attorneys general sent the letter to OSHA has part of the federal government’s regulatory comment process. The letter and was joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

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