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Indiana to challenge three Biden vaccine mandates in court

November 4, 2021 GMT

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana will challenge the Biden administration’s latest workplace vaccine mandates in three separate lawsuits in the coming week, the state’s attorney general announced Thursday.

Attorney General Todd Rokita said Indiana plans to file its first lawsuit Thursday afternoon, challenging the mandate requiring federal contractors to be vaccinated.

A separate lawsuit against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandate — which will require Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4, or get tested for the virus weekly — is expected to be filed Friday, Rokita continued.

The state will also file a third lawsuit next week, pushing back against a vaccine mandate for those who work in nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities that receive money from Medicare and Medicaid.

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Rokita said Indiana will file the OSHA lawsuit independently in the 7th Judicial Circuit, but noted that the state will likely join others, including Louisiana and Mississippi, in the other legal actions.

“This is a direct attack on states’ rights. This is a direct attack on individual liberty and freedom. And it’s a complete overreach of the federal government,” Rokita said during a news conference Thursday.

“It’s egregious and insidious that we use something in a law that was meant to protect workers at the workplace — from dangerous toxicities and from other directly unsafe situations — to use it in this fashion to cover something that is a much bigger part of our lives.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb on Thursday directed the Indiana Department of Labor and the state attorney general’s office to work together on a lawsuit challenging the mandate.

In a statement, Holcomb described the mandate as an “overreach of the government’s role in serving and protecting Hoosiers.” The Republican governor added that he supports use of the vaccine but believes the “unprecedented” federal approach would have unintended consequences on workers and the supply chain.