Republican South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed an executive order last Thursday that requires that state administrative agencies cooperate with the resistance of federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates and prohibits any state agency from adopting any mandate on its own.
The order requires every state government agency to “immediately notify” the governor and the state attorney general upon receiving “any communications or directives from the Biden Administration concerning COVID-19 vaccination requirements.”
The governor is working with South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson to prepare legal action against the federal rule that mandates vaccinations for federal contractors and private companies with 100 or more employees. On Thursday, McMaster said that he is “stunned” by the Biden administration’s “overreach that is forcing South Carolinians to choose between a vaccine and their jobs.”
Biden announced at a September 9 press conference that he was enacting the mandate by directing the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to draft and publish a “temporary emergency rule” requiring private employers of 100 or more workers to prove each employee is fully vaccinated or is tested at least weekly with negative results.
It took almost two months for OSHA to release the details of the rule last week, which is scheduled to go into effect on January 4, 2022. The rule is expected to apply to around 1.9 million private businesses and affect around 84 million workers. Even as the U.S. suffered staffing shortages and sluggish productivity during continuing price inflation and supply chain challenges, the rule was announced.
Biden has enacted the federal mandate in reaction to lagging vaccination rates among many Americans with reservations about being vaccinated for a wide variety of reasons.
On Saturday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a temporary restraining order against the Biden administration and the federal government prohibiting the enforcement of the new OSHA vaccine mandate rule until a further hearing before the court. The decision was made in response to a complaint brought last week by Texas, which sought to have the regulation stopped and deemed unconstitutional.