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Gordon signs Special Session bill funding lawsuits against federal COVID-19 mandates

Governor Mark Gordon (Dan Cepeda, Oil City File)

CASPER, Wyo — Governor Mark Gordon on Friday signed the lone bill to emerge to from the special legislative session: “Federal COVID vaccine mandates-prohibition and remedies-2.” 

The announcement from the governor’s office celebrates the bill as a continuation of Gordon’s efforts to push back against federal mandates, and notes that it appropriates “some additional funds to aid in those endeavors.”

HB1002 provides $4 million in funding for legal challenges to any COVID-19 vaccination mandates passed by the Federal government.

Wyoming has joined other states in challenging federal COVID-19-related mandates on three fronts. One applies to federal contractors. Another requires vaccines or continuous COVID-19 testing for businesses with 100 or more employees, which is to be administered through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Another applies to health care workers.  All of the mandates are scheduled to take effect January 4.

“This bill confirms the Legislature’s support for the Executive branch’s previously-expressed determination to fight federal overreach in the courts,” Governor Gordon said. 

Though he expressed some concern about the cost to taxpayers of holding the special session, he thanked the legislature in “forwarding resources to support this endeavor.” 

“The people of Wyoming can rest assured that this Governor will always be committed to protecting the taxpayers of holding the special session.constitutionally enumerated rights of Wyoming citizens,” Gordon said.

The bills describes the decision to get vaccinated, as well as the hiring practices of private employers, as personal and outside the authority of government “coercion, intrusion, or dictate.”

It also states that “countless” Wyoming citizens fear losing their jobs “because they object to receiving a COVID‑19 vaccination for reasons of personal conscience, religious conviction or for medical reasons, including prior recovery or natural immunity from COVID‑19.”

The bill also cites the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution (the latter granting states powers not defined by the Constitution, or otherwise prohibited to them) as well as the Wyoming Constitution.