The Daily Agenda: Vaccine mandate sets Republicans on edge
Now that's a GIF ... And what's that new smell?
President Joe Biden announced a plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccines at businesses with 100 or more employees, and Republican elected officials raced to declare themselves the first to sue Biden.
Under the plan, federal employees and contractors will be required to get the vaccine, as will most health care workers and staffers at Head Start programs.
But how can he do this for private businesses? For businesses with more than 100 workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will draft a rule to require vaccination or weekly testing for the unvaccinated.
And legal experts say OSHA’s authority here is on pretty solid ground, Howie Fischer reports. The agency is within its legal rights to create rules, even on an emergency basis, that are designed to make workplaces safer. Already, OSHA has standards in place for COVID-19 in workplaces.
Biden’s mandate comes as COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to lag behind what is needed to reach herd immunity levels in most of the country, as hospitals fill up primarily with unvaccinated patients and as the delta variant spreads quickly.
Gov. Doug Ducey was not happy with the plan, calling Biden “angry and desperate” and saying the plan was an attempt to distract from the troop withdrawal in Afghanistan. He dinged Biden for failing to control the pandemic (pot, meet kettle) and pledged to fight the mandate using “every legal and administrative option.”
Not to be outdone, Attorney General Mark Brnovich called the plan federal overreach and said it eroded “individual liberties.” He said he’d take “all legal recourse to defend our state’s sovereignty and the right of Arizonans to make the best healthcare decisions for themselves.”
It remains unclear on what grounds Ducey or Brnovich plan to sue. But Brnovich popped on Fox News to also make the conversation about immigration. “I plan on suing the living Adam Schiff out of him,” Brnovich told the TV news channel. (If anyone gets this joke, please fill us in.)
Some examples of how other GOP governors handled the news: Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she was “standing as strong as a bull for Alabama against this outrageous Washington overreach.” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to address the mandate in a special session that starts later this month.
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Unfortunately, the audit is still making lots of news, so bear with us...
Since we last published, an audit supporter sent a confused and racist death threat to Republican Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, a longtime election-integrity hawk who has fallen from grace among the election-denier crowd for using common sense to criticize the audit.
The AZ - abc15 - Data Guru @Garrett_ArcherAZ Senate Prez @FannKfann releases a statement condemning personal attacks and threats of violence on legislators in regards to the #azaudit. https://t.co/8sWvsXVvE2
Senate President Karen Fann tried to stay ahead of Ugenti-Rita’s announcement with a weirdly vague statement about how audit-related threats are bad, leaving audit supporters believing one of their own was under attack.
“This (audit) has got to conclude, it’s getting scary out there,” Ugenti-Rita told the Arizona Capitol Times.
On that front, Fann once again declared Cyber Ninjas will deliver the audit report this week. They started in April and promised to be done in May, so we won’t hold our breath.
And it already stinks of failure at audit headquarters. Patrick Byrne, a conspiracy documentary star who funded the audit and conducted the audit’s very thorough background checks warned that maybe the fraud isn’t in the ballots themselves.
The AZ - abc15 - Data Guru @Garrett_ArcherPatrick Byrne of the America Project showing his hand here. At 1:15 "forensic audits that look at ballots can be counted again although we don't think that's where the fraud is." He funded the audit. You can bet he knows the final hand count tally. https://t.co/VflbYmkYKM
“If there needs to be volumes four, five and six over the next couple of months or however long it takes us to get this information, then so be it,” she said.
Meanwhile, potential future Gov. Kari Lake wants to bring the audit to every county, telling OG conspiracy peddler Steve Bannon that she thinks Trump won Arizona and the audit will provide the evidence to decertify the election. That all sounds good to Pennsylvania lawmakers, who are embarking on their own self-styled audit.
Getting out ahead of the story: Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel announced Friday that she’s seeking treatment for anxiety, alcohol abuse and an eating disorder. The announcement came seven months after she started work in the office after getting brain surgery after a fall. She said she will remain in the job and be in close contact with her team while getting treatment. Critics responded to the news by saying it was time for Adel to step down while allies said any questions about her ability to do the job were out of line.
Dave is going to force us to watch TV: Meanwhile, ABC 15 investigative reporter Dave Biscobing is gearing up for an hourlong special that airs tonight about Adel’s office and its decision to charge protesters as gang members.
Teach it all: Ducey wants Arizona schoolchildren to be required to learn about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Such education is mandated in 14 other states. But in Arizona, teaching about the aftermath — which included surveillance, profiling and attacks against Muslims and others perceived to be Muslim, including in Arizona — would probably be banned and called critical race theory by people who don’t know what that term means.
Who made money on the Cards’ win yesterday?: Arizonans are lining up (or rather, downloading apps) in droves now that sports betting is legal in the state. The betting apps are throwing out all kinds of deals to entice potential bettors — that’s how they get ya! It’s estimated that about $30 million has been spent by sportsbooks on advertising so far, reports the Republic’s Ryan Randazzo.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was studying abroad at Arizona State University when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks happened. She saved a copy of the Sept. 12, 2001, version of the Arizona Republic, which she posted on her Instagram this weekend to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the attacks.
Democrats are attacking U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, allegedly one of their own, with this clever ad for a “new political fragrance” that smells like disappointment.
Meanwhile, The Daily Beast tracked down a bizarre little story about how U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly flies himself around in a plane he rents from a defense contractor that rents it from a doctor facing a slew of felony charges. There’s no other connection between Kelly and the doctor, and Kelly’s campaign called the story a ”ridiculous political smear.” But the real joy of the story is this gif.
Legislative District 30 Democrats will meet virtually at 6:30 today. We imagine they have a lot to talk about — the County board of Supervisors still hasn’t selected a new senator to replace accused child molester Tony Navarette.
Congressional District 1 GOP candidate Walt Blackman will speak at the Western Pinal County chapter of the Arizona Republican Assembly at 408 N Sacaton Street, Suite 101, Casa Grande tonight at 6:30 p.m.