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Ron DeSantis Signs Anti-Vaccine Mandate Bills

At an event in Brandon on Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed four bills that the Florida Legislature passed in a special session this week, insisting they “will protect Floridians from losing their jobs due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and protect parents’ rights to make healthcare decisions for students” and were the “strongest pro-freedom, anti-mandate action taken by any state in the nation.”

“In Florida, effective immediately: private employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates are prohibited; employees can choose from numerous exemptions, including but not limited to, health or religious concerns; pregnancy or anticipated future pregnancy; and past recovery from COVID-19; employees can choose to opt for periodic testing or PPE as an exemption; employers must cover the costs of testing and PPE exemptions for employees,” the governor’s office noted and “employers who violate these employee health protections will be fined.”

The governor’s office also noted that government entities including school districts will not be able to require vaccination requirements and mask policies.

“I told Floridians that we would protect their jobs and today we made that the law,” said DeSantis. “Nobody should lose their job due to heavy-handed COVID mandates and we had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida. I’m thankful to the Florida Legislature for joining me in standing up for freedom.”

“Governor DeSantis has shown exemplary leadership throughout the pandemic, and I am proud to stand with him as we challenge unlawful vaccine mandates forced on Floridians by the president and his power-hungry bureaucrats,” said state Attorney General Ashley Moody. “I will always fight for freedom, Florida’s sovereignty and the autonomy of American workers.”

“Governor DeSantis was clear: no Floridian should lose their jobs over vaccines mandates,” said Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez. “I applaud the leadership of President Simpson and Speaker Sprowls for their efforts in protecting Floridians. The Free state of Florida will never bend the knee to the Biden administration’s unconstitutional overreach.”

“I am honored to be here today as Governor DeSantis signs the ‘Keep Florida Free’ agenda into law,” said state Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Tribly. “We are sending a clear message that Florida stands for freedom. To our health care workers, law enforcement, first responders, farmers, truckers, and every other worker who never got a day off and couldn’t work from home during the pandemic – thank you for getting us through this crisis. Thank you for putting your family at risk. You stood with us when we needed you most, and we are proud to stand with you now. The Florida Legislature and Governor DeSantis are fighting for you. We will not allow the Biden Administration to make political pawns of the very people who put their lives on the line to keep our economy running while everyone else was safe at home, and we certainly will never cede the responsibility of parenting to the school system or bureaucrats in the federal government. Florida respects the dignity of work, the responsibility to parent and the right to live in freedom.”

“Today is a great day for Florida. Working together with Governor DeSantis, Senate President Simpson, House members and our Senate colleagues, we have passed the smartest, strongest legislation in America to combat the Biden Administration’s unlawful vaccine mandate,” said state House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor. “We are proud to stand alongside every Florida parent and worker and say that forced masking of our kids in schools and forced vaccinations to keep your job stops here in Florida. We are proud to stand alongside businesses and provide some sanity and options to treat their employees as the individuals they are instead of succumbing to a one-size-fits-all federal mandate. The result of this week’s work is simple: No one who is subject to Florida law will be forced to get a vaccine who does not want one.”

See also  Ron DeSantis Receives 27 Bills from the Florida Legislature

Democrats quickly took aim at the new laws and DeSantis.

With the governor staging the event in Brandon–conjuring up images of the “Let’s Go Brandon” chant with ties to vulgar insults directed at President Joe Biden–state Rep. Andrew Learned, D-Brandon, pushed back on Thursday.

“If the governor really cared about Brandon’s families he wouldn’t be imposing a COVID taxon our small businesses and healthcare heroes. I’d remind the governor that divisive childish politics is what lost him, and former President Trump, Brandon last November for the first time in more than 25 years,” said Learned.

Other Democrats in the Florida House also weighed in on Thursday.

“Yesterday, I asked about the true intent of this special session during debate. I questioned whether it was truly about the safety of Floridians or more political fodder. It turns out me and many of my Democratic colleagues have been right all along that it was nothing more than a political stunt. This is made even more apparent with the Governor signing special session bills in a town with the same moniker that many obstructionists use to disrespect President Biden. We wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, not to aid Floridians who are facing homelessness due to this affordable housing crisis, not to address the shortage of teachers and bus drivers in our schools, not to address a broken unemployment system but to kick off DeSantis’ unofficial bid for president,” said state Rep. Angie Nixon, D- Jacksonville.

“We could have worked together. We could have had a unified voice that protects individuals and public health by believing in science and recognizing the historic role that vaccines have played in keeping communities safe. Instead, we fed into a false narrative and passed legislation under a false pretext that satisfied a vocal minority and will ultimately jeopardize our small businesses, our health and safety, and the ability to respond rationally during any future health care emergency. Well done, Governor,” said state Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D- Boca Raton.

“Businesses are trying to survive during the ongoing pandemic and the governor, with the support of the Republican Legislature, is hampering their operations. The bills from the Special Session are anti-business and engaged legislators as extras in the governor’s sideshow to boost his profile as he hopes to become President,” said state Rep. Geri Thompson, D- Windermere.


  • Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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  1. Brian Wood

    November 18, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    The DemonCraps attacked President Trump calling him names and disrespectful to the office so turn about is fair play! Go complain to your therapist!! Let’s go Brandon!

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