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Kemp, Carr sue over Biden vaccine mandate; court halts measure

A federal appeals court has halted enforcement of the White House’s employer vaccine mandate a day after Gov. Brian Kemp and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr filed a lawsuit against the requirement.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana issued an emergency stay Saturday on President Joe Biden’s mandate that businesses with 100 or more workers be required to vaccinate their workers by Jan. 4, 2022, or face mask requirements and regular tests. Last week, Kemp, Carr and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black filed a separate lawsuit against Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors.

Friday’s lawsuit claimed the vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more workers exceeds the U.S. Department of Labor’s authority and conflicts with the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The mandate was set to be enforced by the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Georgia joined Florida and Alabama, along with several private employers, in filing the lawsuit in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Georgia Highway Contractors Association, the Georgia Motor Trucking Association and Robinson Paving Co. are among the companies that joined in the latest lawsuit.

'In addition to vilifying Americans for their personal choices, Biden's vaccine mandates are unlawful and a recipe for economic disaster,' said Kemp. 'With inflation skyrocketing, the supply chain screeching to a halt, and job creators across the country desperately searching for more workers, Biden is pouring gasoline on a fire.'

“This unlawful mandate is yet another example of the Biden administration’s complete disregard for the constitutional rights afforded to our state and our citizens,” Carr added. “The federal government has no authority to force health care decisions on Georgia’s companies and its employees under the guise of workplace safety.”

Anthony Coley, a spokesman for the Justice Department, defended the mandate.

“The OSHA emergency temporary standard is a critical tool to keep America’s workplaces safe as we fight our way out of this pandemic,” Coley said. “The department will vigorously defend this rule in court.”

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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