Citing “outrageous overreach” by the federal government, Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed an executive order Monday instructing state agencies to resist the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates.
“The federal government’s outrageous overreach has simply given us no other option, but to begin taking action, which is why I am issuing this executive order to fight these egregious COVID--19 vaccine mandates,” Ivey said in a statement. “Alabamians — and Americans alike — should and must have the choice to roll up their sleeves to get this shot and certainly not forced by government. While President Biden laughs at the idea of protecting your freedoms, I will continue fighting for Alabama businesses and their employees.”
Ivey’s order comes after President Joe Biden moved last month to mandate that all employers with 100 or more employees require their employees to be fully vaccinated or show a negative COVID-19 test at least once a week or be fined $14,000 per violation. The order also mandated vaccines for healthcare workers, federal contractors and most federal workers who could face penalties if they refuse.
“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us. So, please, do the right thing. But just don’t take it from me; listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breaths, saying, ‘If only I had gotten vaccinated.’ ‘If only,’” Biden said in remarks announcing the mandates on Sept. 9.
Ivey argued that COVID-19 vaccine mandates are not the way to go, noting in her order that “the best ways to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations in Alabama is through education, transparency, communication and persuasion — not government coercion.”
“Effective immediately, no agency, department, board, commission, or other entity within the executive branch of state government shall, under color of state law, seek to impose a penalty on any business or individual for noncompliance with any federally imposed requirement that has the purpose or effect of (a) forcing an individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccination or (b) requiring a business to force its employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination,” the governor's order states in part.
“To the extent any such entity is required or compelled to impose such a penalty as a result of federal law, the entity shall take all practical steps to notify the affected business or individual that the State of Alabama does not approve, condone, or otherwise endorse the imposition of such a penalty.”
At least 24 Republican state attorneys general threatened legal action last month against the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates and Ivey joined that choir on Monday.
“If the federal government presses on with these new federal mandates, then the Biden White House has once again failed the American people. As I have stated, no doubt, this will be challenged in federal courts. I am already working in concert with Attorney General Steve Marshall, because Alabama is standing firm in this fight. This latest move by the federal government is what I believe is an illegal overreach, and I am confident we will win the battle in the courts,” she said.
“I am adamantly opposed to federal mandates related to the COVID-19 vaccine and adamantly opposed to state mandates related to the COVID-19 vaccine, plain and simple. As long as I am your governor, the state of Alabama will not force anyone to take a COVID-19 vaccine. Through today’s order, the state of Alabama is making our position on this issue crystal clear. A state law in response to President Biden is not enough. The courts are where this will be resolved. Today is one step in this fight, but certainly not the last,” Ivey added.