Josephine Co. Commissioners approve letter to state, federal agencies regarding vaccine mandate

JOSEPHINE CO., Ore.- Josephine County commissioners are once again speaking out against vaccine mandates.

The Board of Commissioners approved two letters unanimously this morning. One is going to the state, and one will go to the federal government. Both are about mandates.

The one addressed to Governor Kate Brown asked her to extend the vaccine mandate deadline to November 30th, so health care workers and teachers have more time to get fully vaccinated. It’s currently October 18th. The letter to Governor Brown also requested a complete removal of the vaccine mandate that she put in place through executive order.

The federal letter was addressed to the U.S. Secretary of Labor and the director of OSHA.

In this one, the board requested that the mandatory deadlines consider medical and religious exemptions, and that OSHA recategorized employees who previously had covid and survived as “Low Risk.”

“I would like to add something in there, in that language, with no strings attached such as administrative leave without pay or blocking your ability to get unemployment,” said Commissioner Dan DeYoung at Wednesday’s meeting.

The county’s legal counsel Willy Hicks proposed the phrase “consequence free religious and medical exemptions.” Commissioners agreed with the phrasing, with DeYoung saying, “That sounds good. It’s got the string to it- at least shows we are addressing that side of it.”

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Grace Smith
Grace Smith is co-anchor for NBC5 News at 6. The Chicago native is a recent graduate of University of Miami with a Communication Honors degree specializing in Broadcast Journalism. She minored in Creative Writing and focused her senior thesis on social media usage and engagement. During her time at the University of Miami, she anchored multiple award-winning student television programs, covering everything from music festivals to the Super Bowl. Though she loved Miami's beaches, she's thrilled to be in the Pacific Northwest where she can experience all four seasons and have a real Christmas tree! When she’s not at work, you can find Grace glued to any television showing live sports (especially if it's the Chicago Bears) or attempting a new recipe as she learns to cook.
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