Ohio Attorney General Yost Files Lawsuit Against Biden’s Vaccine Mandate


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the authority of the Biden administration to require all federal contractors to get COVID-19 vaccinations, calling the mandate unconstitutional and a threat to public safety.

Yost filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Frankfort, Kentucky in conjunction with the attorneys  general of Kentucky and Tennessee; the sheriff’s office of Seneca County, Ohio; and the prosecuting attorney and sheriff’s office of Geauga County, Ohio even as the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the extension of  COVID vaccination and masking requirements for up to two-thirds of the private-sector workforce.

In a press release, Yost focused on the effect the federal contractor mandate will have on Ohio county jails holding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees.

“We have sheriffs that are going to lose a lot of talented deputies to this mandate,” Yost said in the news release, “and they will ultimately give up their contracts to house ICE detainees rather than see that happen.”

That will leave the state short on places to keep detainees.

Yost said, “If our jails see no option but refusing federal ICE detainees, what happens to those detainees, who are prioritized first for removal for committing heinous crimes in our communities and posing national security risks?”

Also, Yost said other private businesses will risk losing workers or their federal contracts in such industries as national defense, higher education, and healthcare at a time when employers have enough difficulty attracting workers.

The underlying issue, Yost continued, is the Biden administration continued issue of federal overreach into state authority.

In the case of the federal lawsuit, Yost cites the police powers to enforce mandate fall within the state’s authority and the lack of congressional approval giving the president that authority.

“I’ve said it many times: The Biden administration may not do whatever it wants, however it wants,” Yost said in the press release, noting restrictions set in the U.S. Constitution. “Congress and the states have their own powers, which the federal government can’t just take over because it wants to.”

OSHA pushes COVID vaccinations

The filing of the lawsuit comes the same day OSHA announced emergency COVID vaccination and testing standards directed at those working at businesses with at least 100 employees.

The standards, effective in early January, require employers to determine the COVD vaccination status of each employee. The unvaccinated will have to wear masks in areas also occupied by co-workers and get tested every week for the virus.

Employers will not have to pay for the tests, but they will have to allow paid leave for workers when they get the test and up to seven days if the worker has side effects, according to the OSHA standards.

“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on workers, and we continue to see dangerous levels of cases,” said U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. “We must take action to implement this emergency temporary standard to contain the virus and protect people in the workplace against the grave danger of COVID-19.

Yost said his office will  file a lawsuit against that OSHA directive.

“The Biden vaccine mandate dropped this morning,” Yost wrote in a tweet. “We will be challenging it in court, and (we) like our case.”

The regulations call for $13,000 for each instance of a violation OSHA inspectors find.

The CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Steve Stivers warned the OSHA regulations will severely unsettle the labor markets, as businesses with 100 or more employees face the possibility of unvaccinated workers quitting their jobs and joining smaller businesses.

“OSHA has never set a standard that only applies to businesses with more than 100 employees,” Stivers told The Ohio Star. “That will pervert the labor markets and create an unfair advantage in the marketplace.”

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Brian R. Ball is a veteran Columbus journalist writing for The Ohio Star and Star News Network. Send him news tips to [email protected]


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