Alabama’s Republican Governor Kay Ivey is at odds with the state’s legislature over a move to ban COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private employers.
The legislature gathered in a special session last week to consider the required redrawing of congressional districts. It took the opportunity to ask Ivey to add vaccine mandate considerations to the agenda for the session.
Republican lawmakers stated that adding vaccine mandate issues to the plan is needed as many private businesses in the state are struggling to determine how to comply with President Joe Biden’s threatened federal mandate on private businesses with more than 100 employees.
State Republican Chairman John Wahl stated in support of the legislature’s effort to adopt anti-mandate legislation. He said that he wants to see Alabama lead the charge to defend the freedom of citizens.
The governor has been less enthusiastic, however. While she did issue an executive order last week prohibiting vaccine mandates for state workers, that order does not cover employees of private companies.
Ivey has stated that Biden’s mandate on private workers should be challenged in the courts, not in state legislation. In a speech last week, she said that having a state law that contradicts a federal law “makes no sense.” She added that state law would put employers in a “bad position.”
Ivey’s claim contradicts her executive order, putting state agencies in the same position as the proposed federal mandate. It is not expected that any court action could be initiated until Biden’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) adopts an “emergency rule” as Biden has said it will.
Ivey has so far refused to add any anti-vaccine proposals to the plan for Alabama’s special legislative session. Under state law, without the governor’s approval to include the proposals, they would require a two-thirds majority to pass.
Ivey has the support of Republican state House Speaker Mac McCutcheon to defer to court challenges of Biden. He stated that a knee-jerk reaction is the “last thing we want.”
Tim James is a potential Republican candidate for governor in next year’s election. He said that Ivey’s executive order “wouldn’t bite through a stick of butter,” and the state needs a legislative act to support citizens and businesses.