Indiana will file three lawsuits to challenge federal COVID-19 vaccination warrants for large private employers, some healthcare workers and federal contractors, Republican Attorney General of Indiana Todd said Thursday. Rokita.
Gov. Eric Holcomb, also a Republican, expressed his support for the court challenge, saying he had asked the Indiana Department of Labor to work with the attorney general to oppose the warrants.
The Republican pullback came just hours after President Joe Biden’s Democratic administration finalized the rules for federal vaccine terms that are expected to be in effect from Jan.4.
A set of rules establish vaccination or testing requirements for companies with more than 100 workers, regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Another is implementing a vaccination mandate for health care workers in Medicare and Medicaid participating facilities. Biden also issued an executive order requiring federal contractors to ensure their employees are vaccinated, and details were released on Monday.
Rokita said the three separate lawsuits will cover every element of the Biden administration’s rules. The lawsuits will be filed starting this afternoon and over the next few days his office will be reviewing the rules.
Indiana will likely be joined by Mississippi and Louisiana in the contractor’s lawsuit, Rokita said.
Rokita said the main legal argument against OSHA’s mandate for businesses is that it is government overbreadth and misuse of OSHA law.
“It is once again blatant and insidious that you are using something, a law that was intended to protect workers in the workplace from hazardous toxicities from other directly hazardous situations, to use it in that way,” said Rokita. “And that’s how we’re going to win the case, by the way.”
He also noted that the federal mandate would overturn a law passed by the Indiana Legislature this session preventing state or local government agencies from requiring anyone, including employees, to present proof of vaccination.
This is because state and local governments in Indiana and other states that administer their own regulatory programs for occupational safety and health must adopt rules at least as stringent as the federal requirements of the ‘OSHA.
Holcomb also called the vaccine warrants “overbroad”.
“While I agree that the vaccine is the tool that will best protect against COVID-19, this approach by the federal government is unprecedented and will have negative and unintended consequences for the supply chain and the workforce.” Holcomb said in a statement.
Republicans in Indiana are also challenging federal vaccine mandates at the Congress level.
US Senator Mike Braun is leading 40 other Senate Republicans in efforts to disapprove and overturn Biden’s vaccine mandate under the Congressional Review Act. Senator Todd Young, also representing Indiana, joined the effort.
âSince the announcement of President Biden’s vaccine and testing tenure in September, I have led the charge to reverse this vast overshoot of federal government authority,â Braun said in a statement Wednesday.
âToday, we take another step toward protecting the freedoms of millions of Americans in the private sector workforce under the Congressional Review Act. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to vote in favor of this disapproval resolution in the weeks to come.