Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) indicated in a tweet on Wednesday that he would sign the four bills package the Republicans passed earlier in the day in the Florida Senate that protects workers who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in line with the vaccine mandates.
A spokesperson for DeSantis’ office confirmed in an emailed statement that the governor looks forward to signing the legislation very soon, confident that it delivers on his promise that no Floridian would lose the job over COVID jab mandates and that they’ll be protected from the invasive, discriminatory policies.
Once Gov. DeSantis signs the bills, Florida will become the first state that fines companies that mandate COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment.
The bills that Florida Senate approved during a special session convened to battle vaccine mandates, limit jab mandates for public and private employers in Florida.
Senate Bill 1 bans employers from the private, government, and public education sectors to mandate COVID vaccines for their employees unless at least five specific exemptions to the mandate are allowed, including for medical/ religious reasons and immunity from a prior COVID infection.
The bill allows employees to choose regular testing they won’t be paying for over vaccine mandates if they additionally agree to use personal protective equipment provided by the employer.
According to GOP Sen. Danny Burgess, who sponsored the bill, it allows an appropriate balance between the rights of individuals to make their own health care decisions with the employers’ authority to regulate workplaces.
The Republican governor is already fighting vehemently against public health measures suing the Biden administration over its contractor mandate as well as the employer vaccine mandate and penalizing counties and districts that implement vaccine or mask mandates.
Leon County was fined $3.5 million by the Florida Department of Health last month for violating the state’s ban on vaccine passports after it demanded its employees to get vaccinated, while the Florida Department of Education withheld previously in August funds from two districts after they defied the governor’s ban on mask mandates in schools.