Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a special legislative session called for November to draft and discuss state legislation for the protection of Florida residents against vaccine mandates that private businesses might impose.
DeSantis said at a press conference that he plans the legislative action directed at private businesses will be taken in addition to his administration’s “aggressive legal challenges to federal mandates.” He added that the legislative action “cannot wait” for next year’s regular session, and as a result, he is making the call for the special session.
The governor said that by calling lawmakers back before the scheduled start of the regular session next January, he hopes that Floridians will “gain some protections” in their employment with private companies. He stated that citizens should not be discriminated against based on personal health decisions.
DeSantis added that “the right to earn a living is not contingent on decisions made in terms of these injections.”
He plans to propose legislation that will hold private businesses liable for any medical complications or side effects from coerced vaccinations. He also proposes allowing awards of attorney’s fees to parents who successfully sue school districts that enact COVID-19 restrictions. DeSantis also expects to request a law be passed and submitted for his signature prohibiting any governmental employer from mandating employee vaccinations.
The governor has explicitly stated that he wants Florida to actively pre-empt the efforts of the Biden administration to threaten private companies into mandating employee vaccinations. DeSantis states that he believes the White House is doing so by directing the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to enact an “emergency” rule requiring private employers of more than 100 workers to provide universal workforce vaccinations.
Several other states with Republican governors and legislatures are considering similar anti-vaccine mandate measures. Last week, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order that prohibits any employer or entity in the state from requiring vaccines from anyone.