Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon addressed the Jackson Hole community at a forum on Aug. 31 at Center for the Arts. Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming, part of an eleven-state coalition filed a lawsuit this morning, Nov. 5, to halt the emergency temporary standard issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which mandates vaccines or weekly testing for employees at businesses with over 100 employees.

A Petition for Judicial Review was filed in the United States 8th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this morning, and a Motion for Stay is expected to be filed early next week.

According to a report by Associated Press, new regulations by OSHA mandate that companies with more than 100 employees require their workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested for the virus weekly and wear masks on the job. The requirement is to kick in on Jan. 4. Failure to comply could result in penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation.

Last week, Wyoming and several other states filed a motion for preliminary injunction in the previously filed suit against the Biden Administration regarding vaccine mandates for federal contractors.

“These legal actions are essential to stopping the unconstitutional mandates from the Biden Administration. This is a result of the hard work by our Attorney General,” Governor Gordon said. “I thank General Hill and her team for their efforts to protect the rights of Wyoming citizens and her industries. We have been preparing for this battle and, as promised, we are now joined in the fight to protect our civil liberties. Rest assured I am committed to using every tool possible to oppose these unlawful federal policies.”

According to a declaration from Robin Sessions Cooley, Director of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, a total of 106,462 individuals in Wyoming work for private and public employers with at least 100 employees, which accounts for 41.7% of the total Wyoming workforce and 18.5% of the total population of Wyoming.

The mandate explicitly states that employees at businesses with over 100 employees will not be required to vaccinate against COVID-19.The mandate allows employees to instead get weekly testing and wear masks if they cannot or will not get vaccinated.

The petition states, “This mandate is unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise. The federal government lacks constitutional authority under its enumerated powers to issue this mandate, and its attempt to do so unconstitutionally infringes on the States’ powers expressly reserved by the Tenth Amendment. OSHA also lacks statutory authority to issue this mandate, which it shoe-horned into statutes that govern workplace safety, and which were never intended to federalize public-health policy.”

The coalition of States in this suit are Missouri, Nebraska, Montana, Arizona, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Wyoming is among one of the least vaccinated states in the country. As of Nov. 1, 39.94% of the total state population is fully vaccinated. Crook County has the lowest percentage in the state at 22.76% of the population fully vaccinated. Teton County has the highest rate at 77.78% of the population fully vaccinated.

To date, 1,243 Wyomingites have died of COVID-19.

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.