By Erica Thomas, Managing Editor

Gov. Kay Ivey signed Executive Order 724 on Monday, Oct.25, to fight the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The order opposes federal mandates and prohibits agencies in the state from enforcing any federal mandate on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Biden plans to mandate vaccines for all federal employees and contractors and for any business with more than 100 employees.

Ivey said the mandates are an overreach by the federal government.

“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. “Alabamians – and Americans alike – should and must have the choice to roll up their sleeves to get this shot and certainly not (be) forced by government. While President Biden laughs at the idea of protecting your freedoms, I will continue fighting for Alabama businesses and their employees.”

Ivey said the state order would inevitably be challenged in federal courts. She said she is working with Attorney General Steve Marshall to fight what she calls “an illegal overreach.”

“I am adamantly opposed to federal mandates related to the COVID-19 vaccine and adamantly opposed to state mandates related to the COVID-19 vaccine, plain and simple,” Ivey continued. “As long as I am your governor, the state of Alabama will not force anyone to take a COVID-19 vaccine. Through today’s order, the state of Alabama is making our position on this issue crystal clear. A state law in response to President Biden is not enough. The courts are where this will be resolved. Today is one step in this fight, but certainly not the last.

“Alabamians are overwhelmingly opposed to these outrageous Biden mandates, and I stand firmly with them.”

The Governors' order does not go as far as to prohibit employers from requiring vaccines as some other states have done, but it does:

- Prohibit state agencies from punishing businesses and individuals who don't comply with federal vaccine requirements.

- If a state agency is required to enforce a federal mandate, the agency must notify affected businesses and individuals that the state does not "approve, condone or otherwise endorse" the penalty.

- State employees are still entitled to file complaints under Alabama’s vaccine passport ban, which prohibits employers from using the state immunization database to check a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

The Alabama GOP has also called out to the legislature to take action against federal mandates. Still, some legislators are hesitant to make a move, citing the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which has been consistently interpreted by federal courts to make federal law supreme over state law.

The University of Alabama System and Auburn University have already announced employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 8.

The Biden administration stands firm on the decision for mandates, saying the only way to control the pandemic is to get people vaccinated. White House officials said risks from the vaccine outweigh risks of COVID-19. All members of the military and military contractors have been ordered to get the COVID-19 vaccine. A provision in the federal mandates allows workers to refuse the vaccine due to medical, disability or religious exemptions.