Gov. DeSantis Signs Legislation Protecting Florida Jobs Against Vaccine Mandates

SURFSIDE, FLORIDA - AUGUST 10: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis waits to present a check to a first responder during an event to give out bonuses to them held at the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside on August 10, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. DeSantis gave out some of the $1,000 checks that …
Joe Raedle/Getty

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday signed legislation in Brandon, Florida, protecting Floridians from losing their jobs over coronavirus vaccine mandates, describing it as the “strongest piece of legislation that’s been enacted anywhere in the country in this regard.”

“We’re making sure that people have a right to earn a living. People have a right to have protections in their place of employment,” he said, adding parents should also have protection “to be able to direct the upbringing of their kids.”

“And if you look at what we’re doing today, Florida is leading. This is the strongest piece of legislation that’s been enacted anywhere in the country in this regard, and we’re awfully proud to be able to it here today at Brandon Honda,” he said, thanking the Florida legislature for “stepping up.”

“And I think it’s something that is going to make a big, big difference for an awful lot of people. We are respecting people’s individual freedom in this state. … And ultimately, I don’t know how it ever came to this point,” he continued, noting the officials in the Biden White House who originally dismissed the prospect of mandates are now for them.

“This has gotten so so far out of wack,” he said, noting that Florida kept state open and allowed kids to go back to school despite constant criticism from the corporate media throughout the pandemic.

“They don’t want to tell you this, but Florida, for almost month, has been either the lowest or one of the lowest COVID in the entire country,” he continued, briefly overviewing aspects of the legislation, including the fact that it requires employers to recognize the reality of natural immunity.

“We recognize, unlike what you see going on with some of the federal proposed mandates, other states, is we’re actually doing a science-based approach. For example, we recognize people that have natural immunity,” he said, noting it stands as one of the automatic exemptions.

According to the legislature’s summary of the measures:

HB 1B/SB 2B: Protects students, parents, workers and employers in our state by creating a framework for employees to make the best decision for their health and affirming the rights of parents to make health care decisions for their children. The bill prohibits COVID-19 vaccination mandates for employees in government and public education and protects parental choice on masks, vaccines and quarantine. Specifically, the legislation prohibits private-sector employers from having a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for employees without providing at least the five following individual exemptions:

1. Medical reasons, as determined by a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or
physician assistant. Medical reasons include pregnancy or expectation of pregnancy.

2. Religious reasons, based on a sincerely held belief

3. Immunity based on prior COVID19 infection, as documented by a lab test

4. Periodic testing, agreeing to comply with regular testing at no cost to the employee

5. Personal protective equipment (PPE), agreeing to comply with use of employerprovided PPE

HB 3B/SB 4B: Creates a public records exemption for information, including personal medical information and religious information, contained in files created during an investigation of an employer who refuses to provide individual exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

HB 5B/SB 6B: Directs the Executive Office of the Governor to review options for the State of Florida to take responsibility over our own workers’ occupational safety and health issues in light of the misuse of OSHA by the Biden Administration.

HB 7B/SB 8B: Repeals the authority of the state Surgeon General to mandate vaccinations.

DeSantis also noted that the data is “very clear at this point, COVID vaxxes are not preventing infection,” citing surges in heavily vaccinated countries, some of which are reimposing restrictions.

“So to say it should be mandated when you can still get it, this is a personal choice, so that’s what we’re doing, and that’s the science-based approach, to say that this should be a personal choice,” he added.

DeSantis also noted that Florida already filed a lawsuit against Biden’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA rule), which has been consolidated in the Sixth Circuit Court  of Appeals. He ultimately predicted the OSHA rule is “going to crash and burn.”

He also said the state is challenging the mandate on federal contractors and announced the state has “also filed suit in Pensacola challenging HHS’s nurse and doctor mandate for hospitals.”

 

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