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Police, firefighters sue Gov. Brown over vaccination mandate

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A coalition of police and firefighters are suing Gov. Kate Brown over her mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccination for state workers.

The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court, says the plaintiffs are the Oregon Fraternal Order of Police along with troopers from around the state and firefighters at the Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base in Klamath County, KOIN-TV reported.

It names the governor and the state of Oregon as defendants.

The group is asking a judge to declare Brown's executive order “unenforceable,” claiming it allegedly works against existing Oregon statutes and would result in wrongful termination of employees, according to the lawsuit.

The order, which was announced in August as Brown reinstated an indoor mask mandate amid a surge of COVID-19 cases, requires all executive branch employees with the state of Oregon to be fully vaccinated on or before Oct. 18 or six weeks after a vaccine receives full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Pfizer vaccine was fully approved by the FDA on Aug. 23.

Gov. Brown’s office declined to comment to KOIN on the pending litigation.

Brown spokesperson Liz Merah said in a statement that the governor is responding to a public health crisis.

“Given the seriousness of the situation, employer vaccine requirements have become an important tool, and state government plays a part. It’s critical to protect state workers, workplaces, and facilities, as well as members of the public who use state services.”