October 21, 2021

Governor DeSantis Special Session to Fight Biden COVID Mandates

On October 21, 2021 Governor DeSantis called for a special legislative session to block the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates.  Biden announced plans last month to issue a vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees. The plans sparked fiery responses from Republicans, including DeSantis, who has said vaccination should be a personal choice and people who have become naturally immune to Covid-19 should be exempt from the mandate.

Governor DeSantis said during his news conference in Pinellas County that the special session will create a set of protections that will prevent Biden’s vaccine mandates from being enacted in Florida. “We have an opportunity here to take additional action, and I think we have to do it,” said DeSantis, who previously also said he would challenge the mandates in court. “I think we have got to stand up for people’s jobs and their livelihoods.”

The special session is to amplify existing laws or draft new ones that will provide additional protections for Floridians regarding COVID-19 vaccine mandates and employees who face what the Governor’s Office calls “unfair, discriminatory” actions by employers. The following items are proposed protective goals for lawmakers to consider during the coming special session of the Florida General Assembly:

  • If someone is fired from their job for refusing an employer-required COVID-19 vaccine, then that person should be eligible for reemployment assistance.
  • If someone has an adverse medical reaction from an employer-required COVID-19 vaccine, then that person should be eligible for workers compensation coverage.
  • If an employer fires someone based on an arbitrary COVID-19 vaccine mandate, then the employer should not receive the benefits of current COVID-19 liability protections.
  • If an employer fires someone solely based on COVID-19 vaccine status, then that business may not enforce a non-compete agreement against the employee.
  • Employers must provide notice to employees of religious and health exemptions. Fired employees should have a right to sue if employers fail to provide such notice.
  • DEO shall establish a program to connect employees terminated based on COVID-19 vaccine status with other employment opportunities.
  • Reaffirm that government entities, including school districts, may not fire any employee based on COVID-19 vaccine status. Violating government entities should be held accountable.

Florida Speaker of the House, Chris Sprawls, has confirmed they are in communication with the Governor’s office for scheduling of this special session.

More to come on this!