Oct 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis to convene state legislature to fight COVID vaccine mandates

Ron DeSantis
Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that he will convene a special session of the state legislature to combat coronavirus vaccine mandates enacted by businesses and "provide protections for employees."

Why it matters: This is the Republican governor's latest move to penalize local entities that implement mask or vaccine mandates to contain the spread of the virus.

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a similar measure last week barring any "entity," including employers, from implementing vaccine mandates.

Details: DeSantis outlined his intended outcome for the special session: to protect employees facing termination for refusing inoculation and to hold employers liable for adverse reactions to the vaccine.

What they're saying: "Your right to earn a living should not be contingent upon COVID shots," DeSantis said in an emailed statement.

  • "When the vaccines first came out, we worked very hard to provide it, particularly to our elderly, but we said from day one: we will make it available for all, but we will mandate it on none," he added.
  • "I want a state in which people are able to maintain their livelihoods ... and if the federal government or big corporations are hurting people, then we have a responsibility to step up and lead."

The big picture: DeSantis has fought vehemently against public health measures intended to address the toll of the virus in Florida.

  • Last week, The Florida Department of Health fined Leon County $3.5 million for requiring its employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, saying it violated the state's ban on "vaccine passports."
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