TOPEKA – A federal court Tuesday blocked a third vaccination mandate imposed by the Biden administration, according to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia granted a motion by Kansas and other plaintiffs to place a temporary injunction on the administration’s policy that required employers to impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates on their employees as a condition for receiving federal contracts. Schmidt and six other state attorneys general filed the lawsuit October 29, arguing that the mandate exceeded federal authority. The preliminary injunction is in effect nationwide.
The University of Kansas, Wichita State and Kansas State University all halted their implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal government contractors and subcontractors following the injunction.
“Federal courts continue to recognize that these overreaching, one-size-fits all mandates from the Biden administration are unlawful,” Schmidt said. “I continue to encourage Kansans to be vaccinated, but that personal health care decision should be made by each individual and not mandated by the federal government.”
In Tuesday's ruling, the court found that the executive order “goes far beyond addressing administrative and management issues in order to promote efficiency and economy in procurement and contracting, and instead, in application, works as a regulation of public health, which is not clearly authorized under the Procurement Act.”
In other lawsuits Schmidt filed, courts have previously blocked the mandate from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that applied to private employers with more than 100 employees and the mandate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that applied to employees, contractors and volunteers in health care facilities.
In addition, a new state law enacted last month requires all employers, both public and private sector, to accommodate employee requests for relief from COVID-19 vaccine requirements on medical grounds or the ground that the requirement would violate a sincerely held religious belief of the employee and for religious requests forbids employers from “inquiring into the sincerity of the request” by the employee.