1.13.22 COVID-19 Bulletin: SCOTUS Blocks Vax-or-Test Rule
January 13, 2022
This afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked OSHA’s emergency rule that required employees at workplaces of 100 or more to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or test weekly.
The court issued a temporary stay, meaning that enforcement of the rule should be paused while circuit courts consider the case more fully.
The rule has been subject to heavy litigation, being blocked by one circuit court and reinstated by another. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the rule last Friday, and OSHA began enforcement of the rule Monday.
In the decision, the majority took issue with the fact that Congress did not weigh in on this mandate. The majority wrote that, “although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID–19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here. … Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life—simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock—would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization.”
Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented.
In a separate decision, the court voted 5-4 to uphold a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in facilities that receive federal funds.
The BNP will continue to keep you informed as the federal government debates this issue.
Today, Governor Kathy Hochul announced she will NOT be renewing the state’s mask mandate, so the mandate will expire tomorrow.
Today, Gov. Kathy Hochul extended the state’s mask mandate for indoor public places through February 10th. The mandate was previously set to expire on Tuesday.
OSHA is set to begin enforcement of its Vax-or-Test Mandate for organizations with 100+ employees on Monday. After months of litigation, the latest U.S. Circuit Court decision upheld the mandate.
On January 5, state legislators convened in Albany (or, on Zoom) to kick off the 2022 legislative session. All eyes are on Kathy Hochul as she navigates her first session as Governor and jockeys for position in the June gubernatorial primary race. Here are eleven issues we are watching as the session begins: