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Noem issues executive order providing federal vaccine mandate protections to state employees

Gov. Kristi Noem.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem issued an executive order allowing state employees to ignore President Biden's federal employee vaccine requirement.

The federal policy requires federal employees to be vaccinated by November 22, unless they meet specific exemptions.

Noem says in a released video she is willing to work with the legislature to extend protections to employees of private businesses that have adopted COVID-19 mandates. She can’t do that through an executive order.

“I just want to remind everyone that, according to the constitution, that I don’t have the authority to dictate to a private business.”

This is a mild change in tone from Noem’s previous statement posted on Facebook where she said the government should not be telling businesses whether they can require vaccinations.

“Businesses that require vaccinations should do so with the full knowledge their employees and future workers may have other choices. And workers may be faced with a time where the values of their employer are inconsistent with their own beliefs. But bringing government into the situation is not the solution.”

The executive order does not include service members in the National Guard, who must comply with federal readiness orders.