Gordon Releases Plan to Push Back Against Biden’s Vaccine Order
In a press release, Governor Mark Gordon announced two-pronged plan to stop the proposed rules by President Joe Biden's Administration, which would instruct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to fine companies with over 100 workers that don't have vaccinated employees.
Biden's order also states that employees that don't want to get vaccinated can instead produce weekly negative test results.
The first step of Gordon's plan involves the state's Attorney General, Bridget Hill, preparing for legal action to stop vaccine mandate for private employers.
The second part involves talking with leadership in the state House and Senate regarding the potential for a focused and limited special session as soon as October, should the need arise, solely focused on a small number of bills aimed at addressing the vaccine mandate.
While the Biden Administration hasn't issued new emergency standards for vaccine mandates yet, they are expected to be issued in the coming weeks.
Wyoming is one of 22 states to have a State Plan OSHA Program, which allows the state to manage and retain OSHA enforcement, which is also required to be at least as effective as the federal OSHA program.
Gordon said that they are communicating with other governors and states to prepare legal options for when the actual standards are put out, however Michael Pearlman, communications director for the governor, was not able to say how many or which governors or states Gordon has spoken to on this issue.
According to the press release, if Wyoming doesn't enforce the Biden Administration's temporary standard, the states ability to administer the program could be jeopardized.
"Vaccines are an important tool that can help us to bring this pandemic under control. I am vaccinated myself and believe they are safe and effective. Nevertheless, I also understand others may have a different impression of the COVID-19 vaccine. In some cases, they are my neighbors and I respect their views just as I expect them to respect mine. This Biden mandate is counterproductive and will not convince anyone otherwise."
Speaker of the House Eric Barlow said:
"I am committed to working with my legislative colleagues and the Governor to ensure that as we consider a special session we are well-informed on the issues, judicious in our approach and the policy outcomes serve us well."
Senator Ogden Driskill with the management council said he believes being vaccinated is a personal choice that shouldn't be forced onto people by the government.
While Driskill himself has been vaccinated and encourages people to take the vaccine, he knows many relatives and employees that do not want to get vaccinated.
"That's a personal rights, and if they want to take a chance with their lives and their health, I think that's fully their right. For me I think it's a risk right now unless you're really isolated because obviously I think virtually every ICU bed in Wyoming is full...I've got employees in my business that aren't vaccinated...I would certainly guess I'd have employees leave if we tried to tell them to get vaccinated."
Biden's order as currently stated only applies to businesses with over 100 employees, which would not apply to Driskill's company which he said has a maximum of 50 employees.
Driskill said incentives are one of a few methods to get more people vaccinated, but beyond that the government shouldn't have any role in telling people what to do.
"It's really not the governments place to force you to put something in your body."
If COVID-19 starts to become a bigger issue, Driskill believes more people will naturally want to get vaccinated to avoid getting sick or dying.
Wyoming is second least vaccinated state in the country, with 47% of the population having received at least one dose and 40.2% of the population having both doses of the vaccine.
On Tuesday, Wyoming reported the most deaths in one day since the pandemic began at 39, and on Monday there were 1,182 new cases, the most cases since November.