MONROE, Louisiana (WANE) — Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita confirmed in a tweet that a federal judge has temporarily blocked a vaccine and mask mandate from programs receiving Head Start funds.

Rokita said in a tweet sent late Saturday night that a judge in Louisiana temporarily blocked a federal mask and vaccine mandate centered on preschools funded by the federal Head Start program, which helps children under the age of 6 from low-income families prepare for the K-12 school experience. 

The mandate called for all preschool staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of January, while also requiring that children age 2 and older wear masks indoors and in some outdoor situations.

According to court documents tweeted out by Rokita, Judge Terry Doughty blocked the mandate in part because it was not issued by Congress and forced workers to choose between getting vaccinated and losing their job.

Doughty, an appointee of then-President Donald Trump, wrote that the separation of powers is crucial to the country’s founding and quoted former President Ronald Reagan, who said “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

“Although this case is about the Head Start Mandate, the real issue is separation of powers
under the United States Constitution,” Doughty said the court documents. “Specifically, whether the Agency Defendants, government agencies under the Executive branch, have the authority to impose the Head Start Mandate.”

It was not immediately clear whether the federal government would appeal the decision to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Doughty’s ruling is similar to a Friday ruling in which a federal judge also blocked the Head Start mandate in Texas.

Saturday’s ruling affects Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming and West Virginia.

This is the fourth lawsuit from Rokita and state attorneys general that targets federal mandates from the Biden Administration.