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Judge blocks federal contractor vaccine mandate for KY, OH, TN

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Kyeland Jackson
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A federal judge in Kentucky has temporarily blocked President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors.

The ruling is a preliminary win for Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who joined other states suing to block the mandate.

The decision from U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove applies to Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

In his ruling, Tatenhove wrote that the case is not about “whether vaccines are effective,” or whether officials can mandate vaccines “at some level,” but instead simply whether the federal government can require the shots for federal contractors.

“In all likelihood, the answer to that question is no,” Van Tatenhove wrote.

The case will continue to be argued and considered by the court, but Van Tatehhove wrote that for now, enforcement of the mandate “must be paused.”

“Once again, the Court is asked to wrestle with important constitutional values implicated in the midst of a pandemic that lingers. These questions will not be finally resolved in the shadows,” Tatenhove wrote.

The mandate was set to go into effect on January 4th.

In a statement, Cameron celebrated the decision.

“This is a significant ruling because it gives immediate relief from the federal government’s vaccine requirement to Kentuckians who either contract with the federal government or work for a federal contractor,” Cameron said.

Earlier in November, Cameron joined attorneys general from several states suing against the requirement for workplaces that employ more than 100 people to vaccinate their workers.

He also joined a multi-state lawsuit challenging the federal mandate for health care workers to get vaccinated against coronavirus, arguing that it is unlawful and will drive away employees who refuse to get vaccinated.

A federal judge in Louisiana temporarily blocked that requirement on Tuesday. At least 11 hospital systems in Kentucky require their employees to get vaccinated.

Ryland is the state capitol reporter for the Kentucky Public Radio Network, a group of public radio stations including WKU Public Radio. A native of Lexington, Ryland has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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