Anti Vax Protest

About a dozen people, including Amy Ellis of New Ipswich, above, held a rally protesting mandated COVID-19 vaccines in front of Concord Hospital on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. The protest was organized by Terese Grinnell, a hospice nurse from Concord.

CONCORD — Accepting $27 million in federal immunization grants will not bind the state to enforce President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate on employers and up to 100 million Americans, Attorney General John Formella advised Friday.

Gov. Chris Sununu had sought this legal opinion after members on the Republican-led Executive Council raised this concern.

In a four-page memo, Formella said the language only binds the state to carry out an existing “narrow set of guidance and directives” covered under these specific federal grants.

“The referenced language does not bind the state to any broad and sweeping federal mandates because the language only applies to a narrow set of guidance and directives, and the (U.S.) Constitution limits the federal government’s ability to use the referenced language to bind the state to any broader set …” Formella wrote.

Last Sept. 15, the Executive Council voted, 4-1, to table these two proposals, one a $4 million grant that provides assistance for the state to carry out immunizations of the COVID-19 vaccine. The second grant for $23 million would finance the state’s traditional immunization efforts including the creation of a vaccine registry database.

Two days later, the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee voted along the same lines, all GOP members moving to table the requests while Democratic members supported them.