Governor Mark Gordon announced today a two-pronged plan to combat the federal overreach of the Biden Administration in proposing to mandate vaccinations. The first step involves the Attorney General preparing for legal action to stop the Biden-announced vaccine mandate for private employers. Although the details of this proposed new federal requirement are not yet released, it is important that Wyoming be ready to respond promptly and forcefully when it is issued.
“We cannot sit on our hands just watching this egregious example of federal government overreach,” Governor Gordon said. “We are already communicating with other Governors and states to prepare legal options once emergency standards are issued.”
Governor Gordon also indicated the second part of this strategy involves initial discussions with legislative leadership regarding the potential for a very focused and limited special session of the Legislature. Should the need arise, a special session could occur as soon as October and would be solely devoted to a small number of bills aimed at addressing overreach with regard to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
“I thank the Legislature and the people of Wyoming for the trust they have put in me,” Governor Gordon said. “Wyoming is a conservative state with a constitution designed to constrain the actions of government, so special sessions are meant to be very rare. They cost taxpayer money, so they should never be frivolous. That is why legislative leadership and I will work together to ensure any potential special session held to respond to vaccine mandates will be focused, effective, and efficient.”
The Biden Administration has yet to issue new emergency standards for vaccine mandates. Those are expected to be issued in the coming weeks by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Currently Wyoming runs a State Plan OSHA Program, which allows the State to manage and retain OSHA enforcement. If the state does not enforce the Biden Administration’s temporary standard, Wyoming’s ability to administer the program could be jeopardized.
“This is not a fire, ready, aim moment. We must be smart, thoughtful, and effective in the way we respond to these overreaching efforts by the Biden Administration. Responding prematurely is not in the best interests of Wyoming’s citizens or employers,” said Governor Gordon.
“Vaccines are an important tool that can help us to bring this pandemic under control. I am vaccinated myself and believe they are safe and effective. Nevertheless, I also understand others may have a different impression of the COVID-19 vaccine. In some cases, they are my neighbors and I respect their views just as I expect them to respect mine. This Biden mandate is counterproductive and will not convince anyone otherwise,” the Governor added.
“This matter should not go unanswered,” Senate President Dan Dockstader said. “We should explore every option. As we learn more about the specifics associated with these federal standards and vaccine mandates in general we can properly coordinate our response.”
“I am committed to working with my legislative colleagues and the Governor to ensure that as we consider a special session we are well-informed on the issues, judicious in our approach and the policy outcomes serve us well,” Speaker of the House Eric Barlow said.
Details on a potential special session will be finalized after the federal emergency standards are released and can be properly analyzed. If there is a need and ability for the Legislature to respond to the emergency standards, specific bills and the rules for the session will be drafted.