Gov. Ron DeSantis has called for a special session of the Florida Legislature to take aim at a federal plan to force businesses of 100 employees or more to require their workers to be vaccinated.
“We have a situation in our country now, where very much, the federal government is trying to use the heavy hand of government to force a lot of these injections,” the governor said, during a news conference in Clearwater on Oct. 21.
“And, you have a lot of folks that actually believe that decision should be theirs, and believe in having basic medical freedom and individual choice, and that your right to earn a living should not be contingent upon COVID shots,” he continued.
“And so, attorney general (Ashley Moody) and I — we are working — we want to contest that contractor mandate in court, as well. We’ve got to make sure we’ve got the right plaintiff, in terms of what we can do. You know a lot of these contractors probably aren’t going to do it themselves because they know there will reprisals, if they do it.
“But that has an impact on thousands and thousands of people in the state of Florida.”
“We’re also, when it comes out, going to contest the mandate they’re going to impose on hospitals through CMS, where they’re basically saying, ‘If you don’t do forced injections, then you lose Medicare/Medicaid funding.
“Well, none of these health care providers would be able to even function, particularly in a state like Florida, where most of their patients are on Medicare.
“So, we think that’s illegal, that’s wrong,” DeSantis said.
“We’re also going to be taking legislative action to add protections for people in the state of Florida. “That’s something that cannot wait until the regular legislative session next year.
“It needs to happen soon. So, we will be calling the legislature back for a special session,” the governor announced, and when he did, those gathered at the news conference cheered.
During this special session, the governor is asking the legislature to provide protections for employees facing termination because of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and to reaffirm that government entities including school districts may not fire any employee based on COVID-19 vaccine status, according to a news release on the governor’s website.
“Violating government entities should be held accountable. Employers’ broad liability protections should also be reevaluated if they harm employees through vaccine mandates,” the posting says.
The governor also is asking the legislature to provide greater protections to parents to manage the health care decisions of their children, including the freedom to opt their children out of mask mandates, the website posting adds.
In response to the governor’s call for a special session, Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson and Speaker of the House Chris Sprowls issued a joint statement.
“Across the country, hard-working employees and business owners trying to make a living are being threatened by the Biden Administration’s reckless one-size-fits-all approach to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Meanwhile, the rights of parents are being trampled on. Florida will respond to this gross overreach by the federal government,” their statement says.
“In the coming days, we will review the governor’s specific proposals as well as discuss our own ideas for legislative action, including whether now is the time for Florida to withdraw from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and establish our own state program. We believe that by doing so, Florida will have the ability to alleviate onerous federal regulations placed on employers and employees.
“We stand with the dedicated health care workers, law enforcement, first responders, military service members, and all workers across the country who never got a day off and couldn’t work from home during the pandemic. Too many of our esteemed heroes are facing termination thanks to heavy handedness at all levels of government. During the upcoming special session, our goal is to make our laws even more clear that Florida stands as refuge for families and businesses who want to live in freedom,” the joint statement concludes.
Published October 27, 2021