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Texas joins four other states in lawsuit challenging Biden vaccine mandate on private businesses


By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) – Five Republican attorneys general have sued the Biden administration over the proposed federal rule change requiring 84 million private employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or comply with weekly testing and other regulations. The rule would fine private companies roughly $14,000 per violation.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes argue Biden’s mandate is an “illegal and unconstitutional vaccine mandate imposed on private businesses.”

As part of Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan announced in early September, he said he would be requiring all private employers in the U.S. with 100 or more employees to force workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to a weekly testing regime . On Thursday, the administration published an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) laying out how the requirement would be implemented through the Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). 

In response, the AGs sued, along with the solicitor generals of their states. Joining them are several private companies: HT Staffing, Ltd., represented by counsel from the Texas Public Policy Foundation; Cox Operating, LLC, DIS-TRAN Steel, LLC, DIS-TRAN Packaged Substations, LLC, Beta Engineering LLC, Optimal Field Services, LLC, represented by Baton Rouge-based Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips LLP; and the Gulf Coast Restaurant Group, Inc., represented by the Mississippi Justice Institute.

They are suing the U.S. Department of Labor and its Secretary, Martin Walsh, OSHA and Douglas Parker, assistant secretary of Labor for OSHA.

The lawsuit was filed directly with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Paxton says they will next file a motion for a stay.

“The Biden Administration’s new vaccine mandate on private businesses is a breathtaking abuse of federal power,” Paxton said in a statement. “OSHA has only limited power and specific responsibilities. This latest move goes way outside those bounds. This ‘standard’ is flatly unconstitutional. Bottom line: Biden’s new mandate is bad policy and bad law, and I’m asking the Court to strike it down.” 

“As the chief legal officer of Louisiana, I am taking action to prevent the government from forcing Louisiana citizens to inject something into their bodies,” Landry said in a statement. “I have already defeated the Biden Administration in court over issues of illegal immigration and domestic energy; and now, I am working to win this lawsuit on the issue of personal liberty.”

Medical decisions should be made between patients and doctors, not mandated by the government, he argues, adding that Biden’s policy will cost Louisiana billions of dollars.

“Joe Biden is trying to bully our State and its citizens into complying with his unlawful mandate. I will not stand by; I will continue to stand up – fighting for Louisiana and her people,” he added.

The lawsuit asks the Fifth Circuit to review the case, challenging the ETS, and includes 153 pages of the federal rule change proposed by the Biden administration.

On Thursday, Biden announced the details of two major vaccination policies. The first announces the details of the OSHA rule requirement for employers with 100 or more employees, affecting 84 million workers.

The second, announces details for a requirement that all health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid be fully vaccinated. The rule applies to more than 17 million workers at approximately 76,000 health care facilities, including hospitals and long-term care facilities.

The administration argues the policies “will drive even more progress and result in millions of Americans getting vaccinated, protecting workers, preventing hospitalization, saving lives, and strengthening the economy.”

Citing a White House report, the administration says, “vaccination requirements work and are good for the economy.”

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