DeSantis Calls Back Florida Lawmakers Over Vaccine Mandates
(Bloomberg) -- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he is calling back the Republican-dominated state legislature to take action against employer Covid-19 vaccine mandates.
Speaking Thursday in Clearwater, Florida, DeSantis said he wants to block employers from firing workers over vaccination status.
“That’s something that cannot wait until the regular legislative session next year,” DeSantis said. “It needs to happen soon. And so we will be calling the legislature back for a special session. We want to make sure that individuals in Florida have their livelihoods and their jobs protected.”
The regular session begins on Jan. 11.
The Florida proposal comes as a similar debate has been playing out in Texas, with Governor Greg Abbott ordering that employer vaccine mandates be blocked even as legislation to enshrine essentially the same concept sputtered. In the Sunshine State, DeSantis said he doesn’t feel he has the power to issue an edict, saying Florida is no longer in a state of emergency.
As part of his slate of proposals, DeSantis said employers should be liable for any “adverse reactions” to the vaccine in anyone “forced” to get an inoculation. Serious side effects are extremely rare, with poor outcomes or death from Covid-19 itself vastly more common.
He also said that he wants new rules to make clear that any employee fired over vaccine mandates isn’t considered as having been dismissed “for cause” so that they remain eligible for unemployment assistance.
In May, DeSantis signed separate legislation banning so-called vaccine passports, which are focused on consumers, not employees.
DeSantis and Texas’s Abbott have been on similar policy trajectories over the past year, with both men considered potential presidential contenders and competing for national attention. DeSantis first started actively floating legislation against vaccine-related firings on Oct. 12, just a day after Abbott banned private companies from mandating the shots.
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