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Kansas AG responds to federal vaccine mandate

Coronavirus in Kansas

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on Friday released the following statement on the proposed federal vaccine mandate announced yesterday by President Biden. The AG is signaling that he’s like to join other Republican state officials in challenging the new COVID-19 vaccine requirments.

“No president has the legal authority to decree a national vaccine mandate or to punish private businesses that refuse to discriminate against employees based on their health status. President Biden yesterday scolded ‘this is not about freedom,’ but the rule of law most certainly is. If the president’s overreaching rhetoric becomes federal action, then rest assured we will vigorously challenge it.

“To be clear, I continue to support Kansans choosing to be vaccinated, as I have. But this important health-care decision is reserved for individual Americans not entrusted to the president and federal bureaucrats.”

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce’s CEO said the decision about requiring vaccines for private-sector workers should be left to their employers.

“The Kansas Chamber and its members believe in the right of employers to determine their own policies for employees. In the case of requiring COVID-19 vaccinations, regardless of the level of government, businesses should neither be required nor prevented from requiring the vaccination.”

Kansas Chamber President and CEO Alan Cobb

The Biden administration announced that all employers with 100+ employees must either mandate vaccines or test weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans.ADVERTISING

The requirement for large companies to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for employees will be enacted through a forthcoming rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that carries penalties of $14,000 per violation, an administration official said. The White House did not immediately say when it would take effect, but said workers would have sufficient time to get vaccinated.

The rule would also require that large companies provide paid time off for vaccination.

Roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.

Biden is also signing an executive order to require vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out. That covers several million more workers.

The overall core components of the plan include vaccinating the unvaccinated, protecting the vaccinated, keeping schools open, increasing testing and masking, promoting economic recovery, improving care for those with COVID-19.

You can read more information about his plan here.

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