Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is shown signing a law to restrict abortion on May 15, 2019. Ivey on Monday ordered state agencies to not enforce federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates. File Photo courtesy Alabama Governor's Office/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday signed an executive order directing state agencies to resist an upcoming federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate and ordering state employees to cooperate in a lawsuit challenging the measure.
In the order, Ivey instructed agencies to refrain from punishing businesses and individuals who don't comply with President Joe Biden's September mandate ordering vaccines for federal employees and for businesses with workforces of 100 employees or more.
The Republican governor also ordered that state agencies and other organizations within the state's executive branch to "cooperate to the fullest extent possible with the Office of Alabama Attorney General in furtherance of litigation brought by the state to challenge any federally imposed COVID-19 vaccination requirement."
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set a Dec. 8 deadline for government contractors be vaccinated, while it remains unclear when the mandate for private businesses is to take effect.
"The federal government's outrageous overreach has simply given us no other option, but to begin taking action, which is why I am issuing this executive order to fight these egregious COVID-19 vaccine mandates," Ivey said in a statement.
"Alabamians -- and Americans alike -- should and must have the choice to roll up their sleeves to get this shot and certainly not forced by government. While President Biden laughs at the idea of protecting your freedoms, I will continue fighting for Alabama businesses and their employees."
In ordering state employees not to enforce the vaccine mandates, Ivey joined several fellow Republican governors in vowing to resist them.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this month banned any entity in Texas, including private businesses, from requiring vaccinations for employees or customers. He, along with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in September threatened to sue over the administration rule.
Biden responded by saying, "Have at it."
"Look, I am so disappointed that particularly some of the Republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids," he said Sept. 10 after touring a middle school in Washington, D.C. "So cavalier of the health of their communities. We are playing for real here. This isn't a game."