Oklahoma Governor, Attorney General give update to federal lawsuits against COVID-19 vaccine mandates

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The fight over vaccine mandates continues. The state of Oklahoma is currently involved in five different law suits, four of which directly involve the federal government.

On Tuesday, the Governor and the Attorney General John O’Connor, held a press conference saying they are fighting federal vaccine mandates across the board because they are unconstitutional.

Legal experts KFOR talked to disagree. They say these lawsuits are all about racking up political points.

“The decision to take a COVID vaccine should be made by Oklahomans and their doctors, not their bosses and certainly not the federal government,” said Governor Kevin Stitt.

Governor Stitt and other state leaders leading the charge at a press conference today at the capitol on why the state is involved in five different vaccine mandate lawsuits.

“My problem is not with vaccines, my problem is with the notion of it being mandated. I have a problem with the federal government using our good employers to do the dirty work for the Biden administration,” said O’Connor.

But some law experts say there are legal precedents for a vaccine mandate, including recent rulings in Indiana and New York.

“Vaccine mandates, they have been legally challenged for well over 100 years, and each time they have been found valid and constitutional,” said OKC attorney Chad Taylor.

However, some business owners and health care professionals also speaking out about potential effects of vaccine mandates.

“I believe a high number of our employees would either quit or chose the weekly testing,” said Dana Weber, business owner.

“This is 100% about our constitutional rights and we gotta fight for them,” said Caroline Swink, a registered nurse at Stillwater Medical Center.

But state medical leaders are firing back.

Dr. Mary Clarke, President of the OSMA saying, “The idea that the Medical Association and Medical doctors are pro-mandate and for forcing people to do anything they don’t want, is incorrect.  We are pro public health and pro-patient.”

Today, a federal judge in Georgia issued a stay against the Biden administration efforts to enforce COVID-19 vaccine mandates for federal contractors.

Oklahoma has similar suits in the courts that also try to block mandates for the Oklahoma National Guard, saying the Governor has the right to rule.

“He is commander of the state of Oklahoma and he will make those determinations here,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino of the Oklahoma National Guard.

“When the federal government says they want our National Guard to be vaccinated that’s actually a very lawful order and there is a reason for that. It’s for combat readiness,” said Taylor. “I don’t know why we would send our legal resources and our Attorney General to go fight a potential losing battle for political points.”

“President Biden doesn’t trust Americans to make decisions for themselves, luckily our constitution does,” said Governor Stitt.

Democratic State Representative Forrest Bennett firing back at the Governor though on Twitter saying,

“The Governor doesn’t trust Oklahomans to make healthcare decisions (“I’ll sign any abortion bill that hits my desk”) so this isn’t about that. It’s about trying to start a fight with the president to further his political ambitions & he’s using your tax dollars to do it.”

So far no suits have been ruled on, only stays have been issued.

Last session, lawmakers at the capitol passed legislation that provided 10 million dollars to fight what they call federal overreach in the courts.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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