In this file:
· Iowa says it won't enforce federal COVID vaccine-or-testing mandate for employers
· SCOTUS takes up Ohio’s vaccine mandate challenge
Iowa says it won't enforce federal COVID vaccine-or-testing mandate for employers
Ian Richardson and Tyler Jett, Des Moines Register (IA)
Jan 8, 2022
Iowa's labor commissioner said Friday that the state has submitted notice that it will not be adopting or enforcing the Biden administration's vaccine and testing requirements for large employers.
The state's decision comes days before the requirement is set to go into effect for employers across the country. It also comes as the controversial federal standard is being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, making its future uncertain.
Iowa Labor Commissioner Rod Roberts said in a news release that the state has determined its existing standards "are at least as effective as the federal standard change."
Iowa is among 21 states that have an individual state plan for workplace safety, which gives the state the option of writing its own workplace rules for public and private sector workers. But those rules can’t be weaker than what the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires.
“As a state plan state, the Iowa Division of Labor is charged with protecting the health and safety of those in the workplace and has the authority to enforce workplace safety and health standards for Iowa businesses,” Roberts said...
SCOTUS takes up Ohio’s vaccine mandate challenge
By: Nick Evans, Ohio Capital Journal
January 7, 2022
Ohio led arguments Friday on behalf of 26 other Republican-led states opposing a workplace vaccination mandate before the U.S. Supreme Court. But Ohio’s solicitor general, Ben Flowers, didn’t appear in person. Despite getting vaccinated and boosted, Flowers tested positive for COVID-19 as part of the court’s testing requirements.
The policy in question, proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, would require vaccines or regular testing for employers with more than 100 workers. It has been tied up in litigation since it was proposed last November.
In oral arguments, Flowers described the regulation as a “blunderbuss” approach that goes beyond the scope of the agency’s authority. Scott Keller, who argued on behalf of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said it would force businesses to become “de facto public health agencies.”
In a press conference after the arguments, Attorney General Dave Yost did his best to put the focus on the mandate rather than the vaccine itself.
“This is a case about the law, and the law here is important,” Yost argued. “It’s not about what the best course of action is. That’s for the policy branches of our government to decide.”
The attorneys raised a number of other objections in their arguments before the bench:
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