Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will call together a special session of the Florida legislature to ban COVID-19 vaccine mandates on businesses.
"We will be calling the Legislature back for a special session. We want to make sure that individuals in the state of Florida have their rights protected," DeSantis said Thursday at a rally in Clearwater, Florida Politics reported.
The governor added that state lawmakers will be called back next month because rules are being implemented on the federal level and deadlines are imminent. He said legislation, rather than executive orders, was the correct vehicle given that Florida is "not in a state of emergency."
President Joe Biden early last month called for vaccine mandates on federal employees and on private companies with 100 or more employees. Unvaccinated people would need to get tested weekly.
Thousands of unvaccinated workers across the U.S. now are facing potential job losses as a growing number of states, cities, and private companies start to enforce the vaccine mandates.
Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls said that as of Thursday morning his office had not received "dates or details regarding any proposed call" from DeSantis' office.
"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," Sprowls wrote in a memo to his chamber, Florida Politics said.
DeSantis, who was joined at the rally by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, argued against the "heavy hand of government" being used to "force injections."
"Your right to earn a living should not be contingent on COVID shots," said DeSantis, who vowed to contest the Occupational Safety and Health Administration vaccine mandate on federal contractors.
"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."
Florida Politics said State Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, on Thursday will refile legislation expanding on recently passed vaccine and mask mandate bans.
Perry, who last week filed a measure that would ban mask mandates and medical requirements in schools, was seeking to include a measure that would possibly prevent businesses from requiring vaccines for employees.
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