Wyoming Democrats: Mandate Special Session Would Be Waste Of Time
The nine Democrats in the Wyoming Legislature say a special session to push back against the Biden vaccine mandate would be a waste of time, in part because federal law overrides state law according to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
That's according to a letter from the legislative Democrats to Wyoming House Speaker Eric Barlow and Senate President Dan Dockstader. The letter also cites the cost of a special session and the potential for putting businesses in the situation of having to decide whether to follow the federal mandate or whatever laws may be passed by the legislature.
The Supremacy Clause says:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
Rep. Mike Yin [D-Jackson] released a letter yesterday from Democrats in the legislature saying they all plan to vote against a special session to deal with the mandate. Legislative leaders are polling state lawmakers through today on whether to hold a special session. Such a session would probably be held on Oct. 26-29.
The letter reads in part:
''After considering the twenty-five thousand dollars per day cost of a special session, the lack of released federal rules in regards to how OSHA may enforce vaccine mandates, and the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution that indicates that federal laws override state directives, we believe a special session would be an undue burden to the taxpayer, a waste of time and resources for legislators and our staff, and would further cause an undue burden to Wyoming businesses who would be forced to choose between following state OR federal law, requiring them to be in violation of one or the other."
President Biden in September announced a mandate for all businesses employing over 100 people to require employees to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit COVID test results. But the mandate has yet to be put into effect because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] is working on language to implement the president's order in the workplace.
Both Barlow and Dockstader have issued statements opposing the mandate, and Governor Mark Gordon this week again criticized the mandate saying the government should not intrude in the workplace.
He said of doing so“It is neither conservative nor Republican to replace one form of tyranny with another,” he added. “Doing so is antithetical to our American form of government, even if it is for something we like. I will stand firm against unconstrained governmental overreach regardless of where or when it occurs."
Gordon has encouraged Wyoming residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 on several occasions but says he opposes forcing people to do so through mandates. The governor says he and Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill are working on legal action to fight the mandate in court.