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Governor issues executive order to fight COVID-19 vaccine mandates

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 3:17 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2021 at 4:39 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey has signed an executive order targeting federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

The Biden administration has already implemented mandates for COVID-19 vaccinations or testing for federal employees and military service members. It also applies to certain private sector entities, such as health care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding and businesses with 100 or more employees.

Other private companies may legally choose to mandate vaccinations or testing.

Ivey’s executive order calls the federal requirements an “overreach” and says that the state, through the attorney general’s office, could issue legal challenges.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office said they are preparing to challenge the federal contractor mandate. However, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Occupational Safety and Health Administration have not yet been formally proposed by the federal government. This means there is nothing to file a claim against yet.

The executive order directs all state entities within the executive branch to cooperate with any such litigation. It also states that executive branch entities cannot issue penalties for noncompliance with the federal mandates. It also offers legal protections for those state employees and contractors who fail to enforce federal rules.

Ivey issued the following statement upon signing the order:

“The federal government’s outrageous overreach has simply given us no other option, but to begin taking action, which is why I am issuing this executive order to fight these egregious covid-19 vaccine mandates. Alabamians – and Americans alike – should and must have the choice to roll up their sleeves to get this shot and certainly not forced by government. While President Biden laughs at the idea of protecting your freedoms, I will continue fighting for Alabama businesses and their employees.

“If the federal government presses on with these new federal mandates, then the Biden White House has once again failed the American people. As I have stated, no doubt, this will be challenged in federal courts. I am already working in concert with Attorney General Steve Marshall, because Alabama is standing firm in this fight. This latest move by the federal government is what I believe is an illegal overreach, and I am confident we will win the battle in the courts.

“I am adamantly opposed to federal mandates related to the covid-19 vaccine and adamantly opposed to state mandates related to the covid-19 vaccine, plain and simple. As long as I am your governor, the state of Alabama will not force anyone to take a covid-19 vaccine. Through today’s order, the state of Alabama is making our position on this issue crystal clear. A state law in response to President Biden is not enough. The courts are where this will be resolved. Today is one step in this fight, but certainly not the last.

“Alabamians are overwhelmingly opposed to these outrageous, Biden mandates, and I stand firmly with them.”

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed, R-Jasper, also released a statement:

“The Governor’s executive order is a positive first step toward protecting Alabamians from the vaccine mandates imposed by the federal government. This overreach by the Biden Administration puts individual freedom at risk and will cause significant economic challenges to industries across our state. I will continue working at the state level to protect Alabamians from this reckless mandate. I will also continue to support Attorney General Steve Marshall’s efforts to challenge this mandate in federal court.”

Statement from Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia:

“By issuing her executive order today, Gov. Kay Ivey has fully engaged Alabama in the battle against the unconstitutional and oppressive vaccine mandates that Joe Biden has attempted to force upon individuals and private business owners across our nation.

“Gov. Ivey’s action confirms Alabama’s opposition to Biden’s order and provides Attorney General Steve Marshall with yet another effective tool to use in his efforts to overturn the vaccine mandates in federal court.

“As Alabamians, we hold tightly to the freedoms and liberties guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution, and the executive order that Gov. Ivey issued today proves we will fight to protect our rights from being taken away.”

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