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Montana attorney general pushes back on Biden’s proposed vaccine rule


Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen wants to block the Biden administration's proposed employer vaccine and testing mandate before it goes into effect. Montana is one of only a few states to explicitly ban such mandates.

Knudsen released guidance Thursday telling employers that Biden’s mandate, which is being crafted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is not yet in effect.

His guidance followed the Biden administration’s announcement yesterday that draft language for the vaccine rule is moving forward, but is not finalized. The rule would require employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines or regular testing.

Roger Jensen, a professor of law and ethics in occupational safety and health at Montana Tech, says there are legal questions about the mandate in Montana, but those in his field generally agree the rule is necessary.

“I’m just speaking from the safety and health point of view that we’ve got to get aggressive and do this," Jensen says.

Knudsen says he’ll ask a judge to enjoin the rule before it goes into effect, calling it a “federal overreach.”

The attorney general is currently defending the state in two lawsuits challenging Montana’s law that bans employers from requiring vaccines. It’ll be up to the courts to decide if the federal rule trumps the state law, or vice versa.
Copyright 2021 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.