Florida’s principled limited government constitutional conservative Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday called for a special legislative session next month to push back against White
House attempts to require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
DeSantis said that while he and Attorney General Ashley Moody build a case to legally contest any federal mandates, the state can’t wait until the 2022 legislative session, which begins in January, to “strengthen” state laws. “We want to make sure that individuals in Florida have their livelihoods and their jobs protected,” DeSantis said during an appearance in Clearwater.
DeSantis, backed by people holding signs saying, “Freedom has a home here” and “Don’t tread on Florida.”
At the news conference in Clearwater, Gov. Ron DeSantis laid out an agenda that would exercise Florida’s 10th Amendment powers to protect Floridians from federal requirements that workers be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Among the laws DeSantis wants to see passed:
A proposal making businesses liable for any medical harm that results from a mandatory vaccination
An addendum to the 2021 law protecting businesses from coronavirus-related liability undoing those protections if businesses mandate vaccination for their employees
A measure allowing parents to collect attorney’s fees if they win a lawsuit against a school district for enacting illegal coronavirus restrictions
A law making it clear that it’s illegal for governments to mandate the vaccine for government employees
House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, sent a memo to members advising them of the pending special session. “At this time, we have not received the dates or details regarding any proposed call,” Sprowls wrote. “We are in communication with the governor’s office and our partners in the Senate, and we will share details with you as they emerge.” Lawmakers are scheduled to be in Tallahassee for committee meetings the weeks of Nov. 1, Nov. 15 and Nov. 29.
The governor’s Thursday announcement was not a formal list of policy proposals. Instead, surrounded by supporters, Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and Attorney General Ashley Moody, DeSantis rattled off ideas for new laws, noted Kirby Wilson and Romy Ellenbogen of the Tampa Bay Times.
Throughout Thursday’s news conference DeSantis called the mandates “forced injections,” and, looking at social media it seems clear DeSantis’ comments were embraced by many in the GOP base.
Our friends at NewsMax reported Governor DeSantis vowed to contest the Occupational Safety and Health Administration vaccine mandate on federal contractors. "Your right to earn a living should not be contingent on COVID shots," said the Governor.
"They’re now facing getting kicked to the curb," DeSantis lamented, vowing to test the mandate in court once the "right plaintiff" is found.
DeSantis said hospital employees and local government employees will be protected under new legislation, and added employees fired for not getting vaccines, or people harmed by taking the vaccine under employer duress also will be protected.
"A lot of the employers are not honoring exceptions," DeSantis said, including for "religious beliefs."
"At the end of the day, you shouldn't be discriminated against based on health decisions."
It’s unclear how they’ll fare in the Legislature, but the state’s Republican leadership has rarely strayed far from the governor’s policy agenda in the past, observed Wilson and Ellenbogen.
Before DeSantis’ news conference ended, House Speaker Chris Sprowls’ office sent a memo to members saying he did not have details on the governor’s call for a special session.
But later Thursday afternoon, Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, issued a joint statement in which they offered support for a special session.
“In the coming days, we will review the governor’s specific proposals as well as discuss our own ideas for legislative action,” the statement said. “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.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
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