11 states file suit against Biden’s business vaccine mandate

The attorneys general of 11 states have filed a lawsuit challenging a vaccine mandate for employers issued by President Joe Biden’s administration.

The suit filed in the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals contends that authority to compel vaccinations rests with the states, not the federal government.

Missouri’s GOP Attorney General Eric Schmitt says in a court filing the mandate is "unconstitutional, unlawful, and unwise." Other suing include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

The new mandate applies to private employers with at least 100 workers. They will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or get tested for the virus weekly.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says companies that fail to comply could face penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation. The requirements will apply to about 84 million workers at medium and large businesses.

The new requirements are the Biden administration’s boldest move yet to persuade reluctant Americans to finally get a vaccine that has been widely available for months — or potentially face financial consequences.

If successful, administration officials believe it will go a long way toward ending a pandemic that has killed more than 750,000 Americans.

Though confirmed viral cases and deaths have fallen sharply since the start of the year, they remain dangerously high, especially in some areas and industries. Average case levels have leveled off at about 70,000 new infections a day and confirmed viral deaths at more than 1,200.