COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has filed a lawsuit to block the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for employees of federal contractors.
The mandate, which will require Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated by Jan. 4 or get tested for the virus weekly, took effect Thursday.
In a news release, Yost says the mandate will result in the release of ICE detainees being held in county jails across the state.
“We have sheriffs that are going to lose a lot of talented deputies to this mandate, and they’ll ultimately give up their contracts to house ICE detainees rather than see that happen,” Yost said. “Forcing that kind of choice on people who dedicate their lives to keeping our communities safe creates a needless situation in which everyone loses.”
The suit, filed along with Geauga County Prosecutor Jim Flaiz and Sheriff Scott A. Hildenbrand, Seneca County Sheriff Fredrick W. Stevens and the attorneys general of Kentucky and Tennessee, challenges the Biden administration’s authority to mandate the vaccines.
“If our jails see no option but refusing federal ICE detainees, what happens to those detainees, who are prioritized for removal for committing heinous crimes in our communities and posing national security threats? None of us wants to find out,” Yost said. “That’s just one important reason why I’m suing to end this illegal mandate.”
Yost also states that other entities in the state - including defense, higher education, medical and shipping industries as well as the State of Ohio – with federal contracts.
Aside from potential workforce loss, Yost adds that the mandate is an issue of federal overreach.
“I’ve said it many times: The Biden administration may not do whatever it wants however it wants,” he added. “The Constitution lays out critical rules by which the executive branch must operate. Congress and the states have their own powers, which the administration can’t just take over because it wants to.”
10TV reached out to the Biden administration for comment on the lawsuit. The White House said the Occupational Safety and Health Act has broad authority to issue and enforce health and safety standards to protect workers. They said the new Emergency Temporary Standard is within OSHA's authority to protect workers from health and safety hazards, including infectious diseases.