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ALABAMA – Monday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed an executive order regarding COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

The executive order calls for the State of Alabama to not impose penalties on businesses or individuals who don’t abide by federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

However, the order also said federal penalties may still apply; the state will be required to inform affected businesses or individuals that the state doesn’t approve, condone, or endorse the penalty.

Legal experts say this is an issue of states rights versus federal government power. This executive order doesn’t really offer protection for employees who do not want to get vaccinated except for the ones working for the state’s executive branch.

Alabama State Senator Arthur Orr says Governor Ivey’s vaccine mandate executive order is limited.

“The Governor’s executive order does nothing when it comes to employers or employees outside of state government,” says Orr.

The federal vaccine mandate for federal employees, government contract workers and companies with more than 100 employees stands. Huntsville Attorney Mark McDaniel says it also impacts people working anywhere that gets federal funding.

“The federal government is going to come in and say ‘we’re going to take this away, you have to comply with our executive order, okay? Because if you don’t and you’re flying in the face of our rules’ And until it goes to the United States Supreme Court, the federal mandate is going to take precedent over anything in the state that happens in the state,” says McDaniel.

The order also compels state agencies to enforce protections regarding the sharing of medical information, similar to the clarification issued by Attorney General Steve Marshall in July. Public employees can make a complaint to the Attorney General’s office if they’re compelled to share private medical information.

Contractors who do business with the state are prohibited from making a COVID-19 vaccine requirement part of a state contract; however, if required by the federal government, contractors will be required to say the state doesn’t approve, condone, or endorse the provision.

The Governor also ordered all state agencies to cooperate with the Alabama Attorney General to challenge federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates in court.

You can read the full executive order here.