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Ala. Attorney General asks lawmakers to consider 2 updates to state law regarding vaccine mandates

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 2:51 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Attorney General Steve Marshall addressed vaccine mandates and the State of Alabama’s response Tuesday. Marshall said it’s in reference to recent inquiries.

On September 9, President Joe Biden announced plans to mandate the COVID-19 vaccination for certain segments of the workforce. The first mandate applies to federal employees and contractors, as well as to healthcare facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding. The second mandate applies to private employers with 100 or more employees.

Click here to see the Biden administration’s guidance for the federal vaccine mandate, and exemptions.

In late September, the Biden administration announced a deadline of December 8 for federal contractors to comply. The Attorney General said he is presently examining legal options for challenging this order.

Marshall said the Biden administration will attempt to implement the private-employer mandate via an emergency rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Again, the Attorney General said he is preparing to challenge this regulation as soon as it is published.

In Alabama, Act 2021-493, enacted in May of this year, dictates that no government, school, or business in Alabama may demand that a constituent, student, or customer be vaccinated for COVID-19 or show proof of his or her vaccination for COVID-19. You can read more about this law here.

Attorney General Marshall is now asking the Alabama Legislature to consider two updates to state law as soon as practicable:

  • Act 2021-493 should include an enforcement provision and a private right of action to better deter violations of the law.
  • Private employers seeking to mandate the COVID-19 vaccination for employees should be required to provide exceptions for religious or medical reasons, including natural immunity.

Marshall said, “Vaccine mandates are having an undeniably negative impact on the freedom of individuals, on Alabama’s workforce, and on our free-market system. The people of Alabama need to know that their government is not ignoring their calls for help. Rest assured, my office is working tirelessly to deal with these heavy-handed mandates and to ensure that our state is well-positioned to succeed in this fight.”

In September, President Biden discussed Republican governors who plan to oppose his Covid-19 vaccine requirement in court, challenging them to “have at it.”

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