The United States Supreme Court is set to make a final decision soon on the Constitutionality of President Joe Biden's OSHA vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more workers, but one state has indicated its intention to defy the mandate even if it survives judicial scrutiny.
Iowa, one of 22 states with its own OSHA-approved plan that covers both private and government workers, submitted notice Friday that it will neither adopt nor enforce the vaccine mandate, which requires weekly testing and mask-wearing for all non-vaccinated employees.
Folks, THIS is how federalism is done!
Federalism!— Adam Baldwin (@AdamBaldwin) January 8, 2022
“Iowa OSHA will not be enforcing the federal OSHA Vaccine Mandate. Iowa employers and their employees are not required to comply with the federal OSHA Vaccine Mandate.”https://t.co/WfrsTwiXgQ
(via Des Moines Register)
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. “Iowa doesn’t have a standard requiring the COVID-19 vaccine or testing. But after closely reviewing the federal OSHA Vaccine Mandate, Iowa has determined it will not adopt the federal standard." (Des Moines Register)
Whether Iowa and other states that potentially follow suit will be able to successfully defy the federal OSHA order, should it stand, remains to be seen. One expert, former OSHA chief of staff Debbie Berkowitz, told the Register that federal officials will likely try to take over enforcement of the mandate if state officials refuse to do so.
Still, if blue states can defy federal drug and immigration laws during a GOP administration, it seems that red states should at the least be able to shield their citizens from federal tyranny.
Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, arguably second only to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in protecting the liberties of constituents during this pandemic, praised the decision as one that protects "the freedoms and liberties of Iowans."
Employers are expected to comply with the new regulation beginning on Monday, January 10, with potential fines for non-compliance with the testing requirement coming after February 9. The Supreme Court heard arguments on the mandate on Friday and a decision is expected within days.