Oregon Governor Kate Brown is being sued by police officers and firefighters over the state's vaccine mandate
- Police officers and firefighters are suing
OregonGov. Kate Brownover the state's vaccine mandate.
- The suit claims that Brown's order is "unenforceable" and conflicts with free expression statutes.
- The order requires all employees of the state to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
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The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court, seeks to deter the state from mandating all employees of the executive branch to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The group is asking a judge to declare Brown's order as "unenforceable." They claim the executive order clashes with existing Oregon statutes of free expression and could result in the wrongful termination of employees.
"Forcing them to decide between their livelihoods and vindicating their statutory and constitutional rights is unconscionable and wrong," the suit said.
The order, which was announced in August, requires all employees of the executive branch to be fully vaccinated on or before October 18 or six weeks after a vaccine receives full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
It can excuse people with disabilities, qualifying medical conditions, or truly held religious beliefs, however. Employees who failed to act in accordance with the directive will face "personnel consequences up to and including separation from employment."
Among those suing Brown are the Oregon Fraternal Order of Police, along with troopers from around the state and several firefighters in Klamath County, per KOIN-TV.
Liz Merah, a spokesperson for Brown, told the outlet that the governor was "responding to a public health crisis" by issuing the mandate.
Vaccine mandates are "critical to protect state workers, workplaces and facilities, as well as members of the public who use state services," Merah added.
In August, Oregon became the first state to reintroduce statewide outdoor masking requirements as the Delta variant began driving a sharp new surge in cases.
Masks will be required in public outdoor settings "where physical distancing is not possible, regardless of vaccination status," Brown said at the time.
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