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On Saturday the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked the Biden Administration’s newly issued rule requiring large employers to make their employees get the COVID vaccine. The court said there were “grave statutory (violations of law) and constitutional issues” with the mandate. (Those issues I have laid out in previous newsletters.) Emergency hearings will take place soon.

Background:

Last week, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced emergency rules under Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100+ employees to have a policy in place that requires all employees to begin their COVID-19 vaccination series by December 5, 2021, and receive their second dose by January 4, 2022.

This does not apply to employees who telework or who report to workplaces where coworkers are not present. It also does not apply to employees who work exclusively outdoors.

This regulation does allow for weekly testing as an option rather than get the vaccine. However, the employee is the one responsible for payment unless there are other laws, regulations, collective bargaining agreements, or collectively negotiated agreements that would say otherwise. Nothing prohibits employers from voluntarily assuming costs associated with testing.

This ETS also requires employees who are not fully vaccinated to wear face coverings when indoors or when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes, except in limited circumstances.

Currently, Iowa is listed as having an approved state OSHA plan in regards to COVID-19 workplace safety.

The governor has filed a lawsuit challenging this rule, for the same issues raised by the 5th Circuit.

Are this rule and the new state law passed just days ago requiring employers to honor medical and religious exemptions in conflict?

As of right now, and this interpretation could change, they do not appear to be in conflict. There is nothing in our new law that does not allow businesses to implement vaccine mandates so that would satisfy the federal rule. The federal rule does not address religious or medical exemptions specifically as the new state law does, which protects them.

On OSHA’s website in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) it states that as long as there is a mandatory vaccination policy implemented, even if a percentage of employees are entitled to accommodations, those companies are still in compliance. It does state that those who are entitled to accommodations fall under three categories: those for whom a vaccine is medically contraindicated, those for whom medical necessity requires a delay in vaccination, or those legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation under federal civil rights laws because they have a disability or sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances that conflict with the vaccination requirement.

Are this rule and the state law passed last spring banning mask mandates issued by local governments in most cases in conflict? Possibly. But our law passed last spring regarding schools is temporarily blocked by the courts so for now it may not matter. However the part of our law banning mask mandates issued by cities and counties in most cases is not blocked and the federal rule is unclear. So it’s unknown if they are in conflict.

The FAQ can be found here.

A summary of the rules can be found  here.

Conclusion: This unconstitutional and unlawful OSHA rule needs to get balled up in court forever and let Americans retain and enjoy our God-given rights and liberties!

Health Care Facility Vaccination Requirements

Last week, in a separate but related action to the OSHA rule, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced emergency rules requiring employees at health care facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid payment by being Medicare Conditions of Participation providers (hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, hospices, public health agencies, etc.) must begin COVID vaccination series by December 5, 2021, and receive second dose vaccination by January 4, 2021.

If you are not one of the listed health care facilities, you are not covered by this regulation (assisted living, physician’s offices, home and community-based services).

The regulation does allow for medical and religious exemptions that must be documented by the health care employer. The medical exemption written in the rules is more stringent than our new state law (which only requires a statement from the employee) and would require an identified contraindication to the vaccine and signature from a health care provider.

The religious exemption is written broadly based on Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance, and it does appear that our new state law is not in conflict with the rules in this situation, meaning an employer should accept an employee’s statement that this violates their sincerely held religious beliefs.

If a facility grants an exemption, they must document the accommodations that they will be providing for that employee (physical distancing, testing).

The rule does include students and volunteers as eligible staff that are required to be vaccinated, unless they have an exemption.

The rule does not apply to full time telework employees.

Unlike the previously discussed OSHA rules, the CMS rules do not allow for testing as an alternative to vaccination (unless it is a chosen accommodation for someone that receives an exemption).

Here is a FAQ on the CMS rules.

Conclusion: Same as above. This equally unconstitutional and unlawful CMS rule needs to get balled up in court as well!

Election Integrity Update

I want to urge you, if you have not done so already, to sign on to the petition encouraging the Supreme Court to take up the bill of complaint brought by most of the red states to investigate the Nov. 2020 election:  https://fix2020first.com/

It is encouraging that nearly all the red states are participating and over half of the attorneys general have signed onto the case as plaintiffs. Our signing the petition is a show of support from the people. Please pass this around to those you know are interested. Time is short to get as many names as possible on this petition.

The upcoming Supreme Court case is based on participating states suing the federal government for not protecting their state election systems from a foreign cyberattack. In a nutshell, this claim is based on Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution which guarantees that the federal government will protect states against invasion, which the states assert the cyberattack is. The states have evidence of a successful foreign cyberattack which gives them legal standing to file the case. This case is different from the previous case brought by states to the Supreme Court in that in the previous case the cyberattack evidence was not present as it is in this case.

A second part to this case is that the participating states are also suing the swing states, which were attacked as all states were. This portion of the case is based on the same evidence and is accusing the swing states of ignoring the cyberattack which resulted in their Electoral College votes incorrectly being cast for Biden.

This case is planned to be brought before the Supreme Court the end of November. Many details cannot be disclosed at this time to protect the case and the states that are engaged in it. They are trying to avoid left-wing media attacks on the states which would inhibit preparation efforts for the upcoming case. As I said I understand most of the red states are involved, and I have encouraged the governor’s office for the governor to sign on.

As you must realize if we don’t have free and fair elections, we will never be able to have the leaders and therefore a government whom the people can trust! In a republic such as we have, it’s absolutely critical! Please take a moment to click on the link and sign on, it’s easy to do!

Author: Sandy Salmon