Governor Doug Ducey today released a statement that Arizona will challenge the Biden administration’s overreaching vaccine mandates for private employers.
“In Arizona, the vaccine first became available in December of 2020, and then became available to anyone who wants it in March of this year. It is readily available for any eligible Arizonan who wants to get vaccinated — and it has been for many months now.
“We stood up nationally-recognized vaccination sites all around the state, we prioritized frontline workers and vulnerable individuals, and we are among the best states in the nation for getting the COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable communities. We have and will continue to encourage all Arizonans to get the shot, which has been granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but it isn’t mandatory and shouldn’t be.
“The U.S. Department of Labor, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is issuing these mandates with no public input from the businesses and employees these regulations affect. Additionally, OSHA is expecting businesses with 100 employees to have the same resources as large corporations. This is a direct attack on not just personal liberty but also the very businesses—large and small—that keep our state, country and economy running. After the difficulties that COVID-19 has posed for individuals, businesses and the current workforce shortages, the administration should be assisting with getting them back on their feet rather than imposing more regulatory burdens.
“OSHA regulations were meant to protect employees in Arizona and across the country from unsafe work conditions — not invade their private lives to implement mandates that address a danger not specifically tied to workplaces. The delayed effective date, seemingly to limit the effects on the holiday season, will only create anxiety during what should be a joyful time.
“The lack of a public process in the issuing of these regulations is not that different from taxation without representation. We will continue fighting this to protect the voices of Arizonans and protect the ICA’s long-standing public input process. The Biden administration may be afraid to hear from the people on this issue, but we in Arizona value and respect the opportunity to hear from the public.”
In addition to the new mandates, the Biden administration issued mandates in June for health care organizations. In 1974, the federal government adopted Arizona’s state plan for workplace safety whereby Arizona’s agency, the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA), is charged with regulating workplace safety.The ICA values public comment and the public input process is an important standard practice and one that should not be circumvented based on circumstances that have drastically changed since the beginning of the pandemic.