TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Three Kansas universities have paused their coronavirus vaccination mandates after a ruling from a federal district court judge on Tuesday.
A federal court blocked a third vaccination mandate imposed by the Biden administration for federal contractors. The University of Kansas, Wichita State University, and Kansas State University all announced that they will be pausing their requirement due to the ruling.
Wichita State also announced it is pausing implementation. KU, K-State and Wichita State were the only three universities that were federal contractors subject to the mandate, and all three have announced a pause.”MATT KEITH, SPOKESPERSON FOR KANSAS BOARD OF REGENTS
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia granted a motion Tuesday made by Kansas and other plaintiffs to place a temporary injunction on the administration’s policy that required employers to impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates on their employees as a condition for receiving federal contracts.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt and six other state attorneys general filed the lawsuit on Oct. 29, arguing that the mandate exceeded federal authority. The preliminary injunction is in effect nationwide.
“Federal courts continue to recognize that these overreaching, one-size-fits-all mandates from the Biden administration are unlawful,” Schmidt said. “I continue to encourage Kansans to be vaccinated, but that personal health care decision should be made by each individual and not mandated by the federal government.”
In Tuesday’s ruling, the court found that the executive order “goes far beyond addressing administrative and management issues in order to promote efficiency and economy in procurement and contracting, and instead, in the application, works as a regulation of public health, which is not clearly authorized under the Procurement Act.”
In other lawsuits filed by the Attorney General, courts have previously blocked the mandate from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that applied to private employers with more than 100 employees and the mandate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that applied to employees, contractors, and volunteers in health care facilities.
A new state law enacted last month also requires all employers, both public and private sector, to accommodate employee requests for relief from COVID-19 vaccine requirements on medical grounds or the ground that the requirement would violate a sincerely held religious belief of the employee and for religious requests forbids employers from “inquiring into the sincerity of the request” by the employee.