Schmidt fights OSHA mandate

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that OSHA’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate was likely an override, Kansas’ attorney general urged the administration to withdraw it.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said to have appealed to Occupational Safety and Health Administration to withdraw its proposed requirement for private companies with more than 100 employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or frequent testing of employees.

On Wednesday, Jan. 19, Schmidt said he joined 26 other state attorneys general in commenting on OSHA’s proposed settlement. They filed the official statement on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling in a legal challenge brought by Schmidt and others against the Biden administration.

Despite the court ruling that OSHA likely exceeded its legal authority to implement an emergency temporary standard and pre-blocked it pending legal proceedings, Schmidt said OSHA indicated that ‘She wouldn’t officially withdraw the requirement.

Schmidt said OSHA ETS would require tens of millions of private employees to be vaccinated against the virus or undergo ongoing testing as a condition of employment, with the cost of testing typically borne by the employee.

In the letter, Schmidt and the coalition said the current mandate is illegal because the agency does not have the authority to issue a broad vaccine mandate for large employers.

“[T]he [Occupational Safety and Health] The law was designed to address hazards that employees face at work as a result of their work, not hazards that are no more prevalent in the workplace than in society at large,” the lawyers wrote. “The United States Supreme Court agreed and ruled that the ETS – or any similar permanent standard for that matter – fails to address a single workplace hazard and is therefore unlawful.”

Schmidt and the coalition described the economic effect the mandate would have on employers, especially vulnerable small businesses that have struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic.

The AG said the letter was sent to OSHA as part of the federal government’s formal regulatory comment process. He said it was the latest step taken in response to the Biden administration’s approach to pandemic-related federal mandates.

Schmidt also said he challenged the administration’s mandate for health care workers, however, the justices in a 5-4 decision allowed that mandate to go into effect while the lawsuit continues. He said two other mandates that affect federal contractors and Head Start child care programs have also been challenged by his team and are currently blocked by court orders.

To read a full copy of the letter Schmidt filed with OSHA, click HERE.

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