Awaiting Supreme Court Decision, Iowa OSHA Blocks Vaccine Mandate for Businesses

man in yellow hardhat and work jacket

Iowans are waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses with at least 100 employees. In the meantime, they’re moving ahead with actions of their own.

Iowa Department of Education Communications Director Heather Doe told The Center Square in an emailed statement that since Iowa is a state-plan state, the Iowa Division of Labor typically enforces workplace safety in Iowa instead of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The state is required to notify OSHA whether it will adopt a given Emergency Temporary Standard or provide notice it will not adopt it because its standards are as effective as the new federal standard. Iowa needed to respond to the standard by Jan. 7.

Iowa Labor Commissioner Rod Roberts did so, saying that the Hawkeye State will not adopt or enforce the mandate.

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Judge Suspends COVID Vaccine Mandate for Military Service Members Seeking Religious Exemption

The Navy cannot force service members with religious objections to COVID-19 vaccines to take them so long as the exemption process remains “by all accounts … theater,” a federal judge ruled Monday.

“Our nation asks the men and women in our military to serve, suffer, and sacrifice. But we do not ask them to lay aside their citizenry and give up the very rights they have sworn to protect,” U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor wrote in approving a preliminary injunction against the mandate as applied to the 35 service members who sued.

“Every president since the signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has praised the men and women of the military for their bravery and service in protecting the freedoms this country guarantees,” O’Connor said.

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Challenges to Biden’s COVID Vaccination Mandate Head to Supreme Court

President Joe Biden and Personal Aide Stephen Goepfert walk through the Colonnade, Friday, August 6, 2021, on the way to the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

President Joe Biden’s mandate that all businesses with 100 employees or more require employee COVID-19 vaccinations is now with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus, Ohio-based policy group, became the first to file a motion for an emergency stay with the court, less than an hour after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted the government’s request Friday to dissolve an existing administrative stay previously issued by the Fifth Circuit.

The Liberty Justice Center filed a similar motion Saturday with the high court on behalf of a Louisiana grocery store owner and six Texas employees of CaptiveAire Systems.

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COVID Mandates Oust Police Officers Nationwide, Police Leaders Warn of Fallout

Back of Police officers uniform

COVID-19 vaccine mandates have sparked nationwide controversy and led to firings and resignations around the country. Police officers have been hit hard by the requirements, and their exodus may leave many cities understaffed even on the heels of a spike in violent crime.

In New York City, officers passed the mayor’s deadline for vaccination Friday. The city announced that there are 26,000 unvaccinated municipal workers, including 17% of police officers. Those who refuse to comply will be placed on unpaid leave beginning Monday.

But New York City is far from the only local government to take that route. Several municipalities have instituted vaccine mandates for police officers only to see a significant drop-off in staffing.

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Poll: Majority of Americans Think COVID-19 Threat is Getting Less Serious

The majority of Americans believe the threat of the coronavirus is getting less serious, and a plurality believe President Joe Biden and government health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci don’t want lockdowns to end, according to a new poll conducted by the Convention of States Action in partnership with The Trafalgar Group.

“Despite the fact that Big Media and Big Tech are working tirelessly to suppress the truth, this poll reveals that most Americans aren’t fooled in the least,” Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action, said. “They clearly see that the pandemic is on a downward trend, and they also understand that President Biden and Dr. Fauci have no intention of easing restrictions and mandates,””

According to the poll, 63.1% of likely voters believe the threat of the coronavirus is getting less serious, with 25.9% saying it’s much less serious, compared to 26.1% who say it’s getting more serious. Nearly 11% said they weren’t sure.

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The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Backs West Michigan University Athletes Seeking Vaccine Exemption

Two football players who attend Western Michigan University

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Federal District Court Judge Paul L. Maloney’s preliminary injunction, which allows 16 Western Michigan University (WMU) athletes to continue playing intercollegiate sports despite refusing a Covid-19 vaccine shot.

Appellate Judges Ralph B. Guy, Jr., David W. McKeague, and Chad A. Readler issued their opinion confirming WMU violated the athletes’ First Amendment rights by denying their requests for a religious exemption from the mandate. This decision is now binding precedent in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

“The University put plaintiffs to the choice: get vaccinated or stop fully participating in intercollegiate sports,” the opinion says. “The University did not dispute that taking the vaccine would violate plaintiffs’ ‘sincerely held Christian beliefs.’ Yet refusing the vaccine prevents plaintiffs from participating in college sports, as they are otherwise qualified (and likely were recruited) to do. By conditioning the privilege of playing sports on plaintiffs’ willingness to abandon their sincere religious beliefs, the University burdened their free exercise rights.”

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New Mexico Governor’s Car Gets Less Than 13 Miles Per Gallon, Even as She Mandates 52 Miles Per Gallon for All State Vehicles

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham drives a car with an average fuel economy of less than 13 mpg, according to records obtained by Power the Future and first reported by The Federalist.

At the same time, Lujan Grisham committed the state in 2019 to new energy efficiency standards that included requiring new cars sold in the state beginning this year to reach an average 52 mpg, a goal that hasn’t been achieved.

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‘Require It’: Biden Tells Private Companies to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccinations

Man getting COVID vaccine

President Joe Biden encouraged private sector companies Monday to “step up” vaccine requirements for employees following the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

“If you’re a business leader, a non-profit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that. Require it,” Biden said. “Do what I did last month. Require your employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements.”

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Whitmer Ends Statewide Mask Mandate for Fully Vaccinated Starting Saturday

group of people wearing masks

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday announced the state health department will align its policy with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidance on face coverings starting Saturday at 9 a.m.

“For more than a year, we’ve been following the best data and science to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” Whitmer said in a statement. “The vast majority of us have trusted the scientists and experts to keep us safe during the pandemic, and it has worked. With millions of Michiganders fully vaccinated, we can now safely and confidently take the next step to get back to normal. The message is clear: vaccines work to protect you and your loved ones. If you have not yet received your vaccine, now is the time to sign up. This pandemic has been one of the toughest challenges of our lifetimes, but we came together as a state to persevere. We have all been working incredibly hard toward getting back to some sense of normalcy, and today’s news makes all of that work worthwhile.”

On Thursday, the CDC released updated guidance recommending “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

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