State Sen. Kelly Townsend (R-Apache Junction) announced she is running for Arizona’s newly redrawn 6th District Congressional seat, which is an open seat due to Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick declining to run for reelection. The sprawling southeast Arizona rural district runs from the U.S.-Mexico border to the Mogollon Rim and the New Mexico border to Casa Grande. Townsend lives in Apache Junction, in the newly drawn CD 5, about 60 miles from CD 6, but there is no requirement for her to live in the district she runs in, only that she live within the state.
Townsend told Capitol Media Services, “Anybody who knows me knows that my heart has been down in the southern part of the state anyway. That’s where I go for leisure, and that’s where I go to work.” Townsend filed a complaint last year with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich about Tucson’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. After Brnovich issued an opinion declaring that the mandate was illegal, the city paused it. Read More
Three Arizona members of Congress are joining in on a lawsuit against the Biden administration over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. Reps. Paul Gosar (R-04-Ariz.), Andy Biggs (R-05-Ariz.), and Debbie Lesko (R-08-Ariz.) along with 180 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate filed an amicus curiae brief in NFIB v. OSHA challenging the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to implement the mandate.
The members of Congress argued that the mandate violates federalism, encroaching on the states’ authority. “[T]he sudden ‘discovery’ of authority under the OSH Act confirms that it was never intended to displace state authority in this area.” They assert, “Congress did not give that power to an agency bureaucrat.” Read More
The Biden administration announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all branches of the military on August 25, which applies to members of the Arizona Army National Guard (AZARNG). Although six governors are attempting to stop the mandate for their National Guards, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is not one of them.
AZARNG has not begun discharging any soldiers yet, but intends to follow the lead of other branches of the military, which have. The Department of Defense declared that Army National Guard and Reserve members have until June 30 to receive their shots. Read More
State Rep. Steve Kaiser (R-Phoenix) is sponsoring a bill, HB 2020, that would exempt people in Arizona from government or private businesses imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates if they have already had COVID-19. This includes mandates from the federal government and from corporations at their branches in Arizona. To be eligible, someone must show either proof of antibodies, a positive test, or a positive T-cell immune response to COVID-19.
Kaiser, who came up with the idea for the bill during a discussion with a friend, told The Arizona Sun Times, “It provides a great way for folks who are uncomfortable with the vaccine to keep their jobs. There is a lot of data to support this, and it has a great chance of passing through the legislature.” He said at least one Democrat has said they may support the bill. Read More
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) discussed in an interview on Sunday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit’s decision to defer the OHSA vaccine mandate to a three-judge panel. The deference by the 6th Circuit reinstates the OSHA mandate. Read More
After signing a bill earlier this year that banned Ohio’s public schools and universities from mandating vaccines that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Gov. Mike DeWine (R) will reportedly veto a similar bill if it passed by the state Senate.
“A school, private college, or state institution of higher education shall not require a student to receive any of the following utilizing messenger ribonucleic acid, deoxyribonucleic acid, or any other genetic vaccine technology and for which the United States food and drug administration has not issued a biologics license or otherwise granted full approval,” HB 218 says. Read More
The City of Phoenix instituted a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees, and numerous Republican lawmakers want to stop it. Several legislators sent a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey demanding that he call a special session of the Arizona Legislature so they can pass legislation halting that mandate and any others in Arizona.
Sen. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), and Rep. Justin Wilmeth (R-Phoenix) wrote, “We urge you to immediately call us into a special session to pass legislation prohibiting any government entity from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine. Since the Arizona Supreme Court struck down policy provisions added to the budget passed earlier this year as a violation of our state Constitution’s single subject clause, it is imperative we address medical freedom issues taking place in our K-12 public schools, public colleges and universities, and any city, county or town from imposing a vaccine passport or mandate on any person or business.” Read More
Arizona Corporation Commissioners Jim O’Connor and Justin Olson want to hold a meeting to vote on whether utilities, known as Public Service Corporations, can force their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. They sent a letter to their fellow commissioners on November 18 expressing their concerns.
O’Connor and Olson cite the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on November 12 putting a stay on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. They quoted the opinion where it said the mandate “raises constitutional concerns” and “grossly exceeds [its] statutory authority.” Read More
During a press conference announcing his lawsuit with police officers and firefighters against the City of Phoenix over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was asked by Arizona’s Family political editor Dennis Welch whether he was vaccinated. His press secretary waved the question off as “inappropriate.”
However, Brnovich, who is running for U.S. Senate, responded, “Do you have an STD?” After a brief pause with some laughter from those present, he went on, “It’s not a ridiculous question. The question should be, once you allow or cede this authority to the federal government, where does it stop? And my own health information is my own health information.” Read More
Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio is requesting a meeting and vote on the City of Phoenix’s new COVID-19 vaccine mandate. In a letter sent to the mayor and other members of the city council on November 22, he expressed concerns over public safety, employee retention, and whether the Biden’s administration mandate even applies.
“This decision will compromise vital citywide services to our residents, including public safety, which this Council has been aware of the alarming crime data and how the city is struggling to hire and retain personnel,” he wrote. “A more thorough determination needs to be made on whether, under federal law, the City of Phoenix and its 13,000 employees are considered ‘federal contractors’ for the purposes of this mandate,” he wrote. Read More
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona National Guard did respond to queries from The Arizona Sun Times regarding whether Arizona would follow the lead of Oklahoma and its National Guard decision not to enforce the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
A source familiar with the Arizona National Guard’s vaccine policy told that commanders in the Arizona National Guard have already begun ordering troops to get the vaccine.
The source said based on their understanding of the internal dynamics of the Arizona Guard Ducey could reverse this vaccination push and follow Oklahoma’s lead.
While Ducey remains silent, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, now running for the 2022 GOP Senate nomination, sued the Biden administration twice over the mandate. Read More
Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has said he’s opposed to mandates, including COVID-19 vaccine mandates. However, many current vaccine mandates are federally-ordered, including a mandate for all members of the Armed Forces on active duty, or in ready reserve, including the National Guard.
Some Republican governors are testing their power to defy the order. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt appointed a new adjutant general of that state’s national guard after the previous adjutant general ignored Stitt’s request to fight the mandate. Last week, the new adjutant general said no Oklahoma Guardsmen who are not federally mobilized would have to take the vaccine. Read More
The newly installed head of the Oklahoma National Guard has ordered that troops under his command will not be forced to comply with the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the armed forces.
“No Oklahoma Guardsman will be required to take the COVID-19 Vaccine,” Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino wrote in a Thursday memo. The memo was at odds with a Defense Department directive that the “total force” – including the National Guard – must be vaccinated against COVID-19. Read More
Private employers around the country are implementing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, some in response to the mandate implemented by President Joe Biden on businesses with 100 or more employees through the Occupational and Safety Health Act (OSHA), and Arizona Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix) is pushing back. Bolick sent a letter to Mayo Clinic in Phoenix demanding a meeting to discuss its vaccine mandate, stating that Biden’s OSHA mandate is unconstitutional and pointing out various reasons why Mayo should reconsider its policy. Bolick said that she has received dozens of emails from Mayo employees about it, including remote workers who work from home.
“During the height of the pandemic in 2020, these same health care heroes worked tirelessly for Mayo to care for the sick knowing they were potentially putting their own health and family’s health at risk,” she wrote. “Yet, just a year later, Mayo appears ready to show them the door considering the Biden/Harris administration’s lawless vaccine mandate.” Read More
The Job Creators Network (JCN) Thursday announced a lawsuit against the Biden Administration just hours after the announcement that a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all companies with 100 employees or more will take effect on January 4.
That mandate is expected to affect 84 million Americans. Read More
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BSBCT) is pushing critical race theory on its employees, even though the company serves a state that largely disagrees with these values.
This is according to a long-term employee of BCBST, who provided information to The Tennessee Star on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their job. Read More
At the end of Friday, October 1, 14 Leon County government employees were terminated from their positions due to non-compliance with Leon County’s vaccine mandate.
In July, Leon County Administrator Vince Long notified all Leon County government employees that vaccinations against COVID-19 would become a condition of employment with the county, citing a “resurgence” of the virus in the county. According to the communication, all County employees were required to get vaccinated by October 1.
The employee notification stated:
“Today, as vaccinations stagnate and the delta variant has created a resurgence of the COVID 19 virus with the state of Florida at its epicenter, vaccinations against COVID 19 will now become a condition of employment at Leon County Government for new and existing employees under the supervision of the County Administrator and the County Attorney.” Read More
Glenn Youngkin’s tightrope walk between suburban moderates and hard-right Republicans seems to be paying off — on Friday the Cook Political Report (CPR) announced a rating shift in the gubernatorial contest from Lean Democratic to Toss Up. That matches with polling from a variety of sources that show an increasingly close race.
“We can no longer say this is a contest where the Democrat has the advantage. While many of the fundamentals favor [Terry] McAuliffe — and we expect he still has a slight edge — it’s Youngkin who seems to have the enthusiasm on his side,” CPR reported. Read More
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who earned a reputation for imposing extremely strict COVID-19 restrictions, will now sign a bill that bans mask mandates and vaccine passports.
The measures are part of the state’s $70 billion budget bill, which clocks in at 1,000 pages. Read More
A new University of Mary Washington (UMW) poll of 1,000 Virginia adults found Terry McAuliffe leading with 43 percent, Glenn Youngkin with 38 percent, and Liberation Party candidate Princess Blanding at two percent. Among the 528 likely voters in the poll, Youngkin gained ten points, reaching 48 percent, while McAuliffe and Blanding stayed at 43 percent and two percent, respectively. But elections forecaster Chaz Nuttycombe said that the big story is the Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll released Tuesday that had McAuliffe leading Youngkin 45 to 42 percent; it surveyed 875 Virginia voters on September 17 and 18 with a 3.3 percent margin of error. It did not include Blanding.
“The one big exclamation point that should be having Dems say, ‘Oh s–t, oh f–k, oh s–t, oh f–k,’ is the PPP poll that came out. That had McAuliffe up by three. PPP is a very Democrat-leaning pollster,” he said. “Their polls usually overestimate Democrats by a few points.” Read More
Some 4,800 state employees in Washington have already requested medical or religious exemptions from Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
According to information released this week by the state, those requests amount to nearly 8% of the 60,000 state workers who fall under Inslee’s 24 cabinet departments. As of Sept. 6, less than 50% of all employees in those agencies were verified as being fully vaccinated.
Inslee last month issued an executive order that all state employees, as well as K-12 and state university staff, must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face dismissal. Read More
Arizona became the first state to sue the Biden administration over its federal vaccine mandate, according to Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s press release.
“The federal government cannot force people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The Biden Administration is once again flouting our laws and precedents to push their radical agenda,” Brnovich said. “There can be no serious or scientific discussion about containing the spread of COVID-19 that doesn’t begin at our southern border.” Read More
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is requiring high school athletes to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination by November 8, according to a Monday letter from Superintendent Scott Braband. He said that would help keep FCPS high school students in the classroom.
“Vaccinating our students is a critical step in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing any disruption to learning. The majority of pauses to instruction for our high school students come as a result of exposure during athletic activities, which the Virginia Department of Education classifies as a high-risk activity,” he said. “These pauses impact participation in activities and in-person learning while the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) investigates and determines close contacts and next steps.” Read More
Norfolk State University has announced that it is paying students, faculty and staff to take the COVID-19 vaccine after it imposed a September 20 deadline for vaccination.
“All validated students who are fully vaccinated and have provided proper proof of vaccination by September 20, 2021, will receive a $500 incentive,” the school said on its website. “All Faculty/Staff who are fully vaccinated and have provided proper proof of vaccination by September 20, 2021, will receive a $1000 incentive.” Read More
The Tennessee legislature stalled on legislation prohibiting mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for K-12 students. The bill was removed from the Health Committee calendar last month. In the Senate, it was last referred back to the Calendar Committee after making it to the floor on Monday.
State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) and State Representative Rusty Grills (R-Newbern) were the sponsors on the bill. Hensley’s legislative assistant Allison Wilson clarified with The Tennessee Star that the Senate won’t be hearing the bill this year. Read More
The Tennessee Senate amended a bill prohibiting mandatory COVID-19 vaccines so that colleges and universities can still mandate it. The amendment came out of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.
The Senate was scheduled to take their final vote on the bill Wednesday, but they opted to conform to the House version of the bill and issue the amendment instead. The decision to temporarily postpone the final vote came from State Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) after lengthy, heated debate occurred over the bill on the Senate floor. Read More