Gov. Little “exploring legal action” against Biden’s vaccine mandates

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports

On Friday, Gov. Brad Little announced he and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden are exploring legal options to fight President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination mandates.

On Thursday, Biden announced he is taking steps to mandate vaccinations for federal employees and contractors, health care workers at facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid, and people who work at private businesses with more than 100 employees. Employees of private businesses would be able to show weekly negative COVID tests instead of getting the vaccine if the plan goes into place.

According to the Idaho Department of Labor, there are 781 private businesses in Idaho with more than 100 employees. Those businesses employ approximately 203,000 people.

“I have been consistent that government should stay out of decisions involving employers and their employees as much as possible,” Little said in a press release. “I’ve advocated for and championed fewer government regulations and mandates on business.”

Little has also supported the rights of hospitals and other employers to mandate vaccinations as a condition of employment, declining to call the Idaho Legislature back into session to prevent employers from doing so, despite calls from some Republican lawmakers. House Speaker Scott Bedke, who is running for lieutenant governor, told House members earlier this week he will do so only if there is a narrow piece of legislation with majority consensus from both the House and Senate.

“When President Biden took office, he promised to do his best to unify our country, and he has only driven us further apart. President Biden is out of touch, and his mandates only add to the divisiveness within our country,” Little said. “I still urge Idahoans to choose to receive the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and other ways to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 so our kids can stay in school and for the continued health and prosperity of the people of Idaho.”

Biden is scheduled to visit Boise on Monday to tour the National Interagency Fire Center, as first reported by the Idaho Statesman. It isn’t yet clear if Little and Biden will meet.

Read the full press release below.

Idaho exploring legal action against Biden’s COVID-19 plan

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little issued the following expanded statement today regarding President Joe Biden’s plan to fine private employers with 100 or more employees that do not mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or routine testing.

“The State of Idaho is exploring legal action to stop President Biden’s unprecedented government overreach into the private sector with his new COVID-19 plan. I am working closely with my legal counsel and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden on legal options to protect the rights of business owners and their employees.

I have been consistent that government should stay out of decisions involving employers and their employees as much as possible. I’ve advocated for and championed fewer government regulations and mandates on business.

I am also deeply concerned with the president’s tone in his message to the American people with his new plan. It is wrong for President Biden to dismiss the concerns of millions of Americans and tell governors who represent Americans that he will use his powers as president to get them out of the way. This is not leadership. When President Biden took office, he promised to do his best to unify our country, and he has only driven us further apart. President Biden is out of touch, and his mandates only add to the divisiveness within our country.

I still urge Idahoans to choose to receive the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and other ways to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 so our kids can stay in school and for the continued health and prosperity of the people of Idaho.”

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