Gov. Mark Gordon is working on legal action and a possible special legislative session to combat federal vaccine mandates.
He announced Wednesday a two-pronged plan to combat what Gordon called federal overreach of the Biden administration in proposing to mandate vaccinations. The first step involves the attorney general preparing for legal action to stop the Biden-announced vaccine mandate for private employers.
“We cannot sit on our hands just watching this egregious example of federal government overreach,” Gordon said. “We are already communicating with other governors and states to prepare legal options once emergency standards are issued.”
Gordon said he’s also had discussions with legislative leadership regarding the potential for a very focused and limited special session of the Legislature. Should the need arise, a special session could occur as soon as October and would be solely devoted to a small number of bills aimed at addressing overreach with regard to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
“I thank the Legislature and the people of Wyoming for the trust they have put in me,” Gordon said. “Wyoming is a conservative state with a constitution designed to constrain the actions of government, so special sessions are meant to be very rare. They cost taxpayer money, so they should never be frivolous. That is why legislative leadership and I will work together to ensure any potential special session held to respond to vaccine mandates will be focused, effective, and efficient.”
The Biden administration has yet to issue new emergency standards for vaccine mandates. Those are expected to be issued in the coming weeks by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Currently, Wyoming runs a State Plan OSHA Program, which allows the State to manage and retain OSHA enforcement. If the state does not enforce the Biden administration’s temporary standard, Wyoming’s ability to administer the program could be jeopardized.
“This is not a fire, ready, aim moment,” Gordon said. “We must be smart, thoughtful, and effective in the way we respond to these overreaching efforts by the Biden administration. Responding prematurely is not in the best interests of Wyoming’s citizens or employers.
“Vaccines are an important tool that can help us to bring this pandemic under control. I am vaccinated myself and believe they are safe and effective. Nevertheless, I also understand others may have a different impression of the COVID-19 vaccine. In some cases, they are my neighbors and I respect their views just as I expect them to respect mine. This Biden mandate is counterproductive and will not convince anyone otherwise.”
Leaders of the state house and senate both expressed support for the strategy. Details will be finalized after the federal emergency standards are released.