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Alabama AG joins other states in petition seeking review of vaccine mandate

Marshall filed the petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit.

Attorney General Steve Marshall in 2021. Governor's Office/Hal Yeager

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Friday filed a petition for review of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s rule requiring workers at companies with more than 100 employees have until Jan. 4, 2022, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or face weekly testing and a requirement to wear a mask while at work. 

Marshall filed the petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit. Marshall is joined in the legal filing by Georgia, Florida, several out-of-state companies and one Alabama business, Scotch Plywood Company in Fulton. 

“Today, I’ve challenged the Biden Administration’s latest attempt to wreck our nation’s economy while satiating the left’s infatuation with government-mandated immunization,” Marshall said in a statement. 

The Scotch Plywood Company was approved for $5.7 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to ProPublica, which uses data from the Small Business Administration to track issuance of the federal COVID relief loans to businesses. 

Scotch Plywood told the federal government that $4.4 million of those PPP loans would be used for payroll, $625,000 for utilities and $630,000 for health care, according to ProPublica’s review of SBA data. 

Companies that fail to comply with the new OSHA regulations could face penalties of nearly $14,000 per employee who doesn’t meet the requirements. The rule will impact 84 million workers the federal government estimates. 

OSHA estimates that the vaccine mandate will prevent the deaths of more than 6,500 workers and prevent more than 250,000 hospitalizations through April. 

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Businesses won’t be required to pay for the weekly testing of employees who decline to get vaccinated, but companies will be required to establish a policy to track the COVID-19 vaccination status of their employees, according to the rule. 

Alabama and five other Republican states late Friday filed a federal lawsuit challenging President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for federal workers and contractors.

The number of unvaccinated Americans over the age of 12 has fallen from approximately 100 million in late July, when Biden began issuing vaccination requirements, to about 60 million today, President Joe Biden said Thursday after OSHA published the new rule. 

“Vaccination requirements are good for the economy. They not only increase vaccination rates but they help send people back to work – as many as 5 million American workers,” Biden said. 

Alabama has the fourth-lowest percentage of residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Alabama has the second-highest COVID death rate per 100,000 residents in the nation, at 320, behind only Mississippi, according to the CDC. There have been 15,676 confirmed COVID deaths in Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s data.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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