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Politics

Kentucky AG says OSHA COVID vaccine requirement lawsuit is to 'respect the balance of power'

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron greets constituents before speaking at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce's Government Forum program on Tuesday at Northern Kentucky University.
Cory Sharber
/
WVXU
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron greets constituents before speaking at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce's Government Forum program on Tuesday at Northern Kentucky University.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron says the lawsuit filed against OSHA's COVID-19 vaccine requirement is about "respecting the balance of power" between the federal government and the state government.

Cameron was the featured guest during the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce's Government Forum program on Tuesday at Northern Kentucky University.

Last Thursday, Cameron joined attorneys general in Ohio and Tennessee seeking to block a federal COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate for workplaces with 100 or more employees. The new OSHA rule would require workers to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or submit weekly testing. In the lawsuit, Cameron alleges this would harm the state's economy and worsen supply chain issues.

When asked about the lawsuit, Cameron says the vaccine requirement violates the 10th Amendment. He says the mandate is being forced upon states, but the federal government does not have the power required by the Constitution to do so.

"The federal government should not be in the business of trying to commandeer the police powers of a state," Cameron said. "A state should be able to make those decisions."

He said jails throughout the state with federal contracts could lose employees.

"Not everyone that is in the jail situation at this juncture wants to be vaccinated," Cameron said. "Now that's a decision that you have to make based on your own personal choice, but the bottom line is that it puts in jeopardy those contracts."

The lawsuit points to local jails in Kentucky that have optional vaccination policies, including one in Boone County that has a contract with the federal government to house prisoners. The Courier-Journal previously reported Kentucky Department of Corrections employees who are unvaccinated have had to submit to twice-weekly testing for COVID-19 since May.

Following the event, Cameron celebrated a grand opening of a field office in Covington. He says he's focused on expanding the footprint of the Attorney General throughout the state.

"You know, it's one thing to pick up the phone or send an email to the AG's office, but it's another thing to actually be able to communicate with folks from our office," Cameron said.

The field office will be located in the Kenton County Government Center. The Attorney General’s Office also has locations in Prestonsburg and Louisville.