Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a proclamation announcing that the Special Session to provide protections for Floridians who have lost their jobs or are having their employment threatened because of vaccine mandates will begin on November 15, 2021, and go no later than November 19, 2021.
“Your right to earn a living should not be contingent upon COVID shots,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We have somehow gone from 15 days to slow the spread to 3 jabs to keep your job. In Florida, we believe that the decision whether or not to get a COVID shot is a choice based on individual circumstances, so we are litigating against the Biden Administration and will be passing legislation in this Special Session to protect Florida jobs and protect parents’ rights when it comes to masking and quarantines. The health, education, and wellbeing of our children are primarily the responsibility of parents. As long as I am Governor, parents in Florida will play a strong role in determining what their kids are learning and how they’re treated in school.”
Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis called for this Special Session of the Florida Legislature at a press conference where he was joined by first responders, healthcare workers, airline employees, and Floridians from various other industries who have faced or are facing consequences as a result of vaccine mandates.
Governor DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody have also announced a lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s unconstitutional vaccine mandates, making Florida the first state to bring a comprehensive legal action against the federal contractor vaccine mandate. “Governor DeSantis has called this Special Session because we must stand up for the rights and liberties of Floridians not only through litigation but also through legislation,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “We are looking forward to collaborating with Senate President Simpson and House Speaker Sprowls to provide protections for Floridians of all ages, in the workforce and in the classroom.”
Governor DeSantis is calling on the Legislature to consider legislation that will:
- Protect current and prospective employees against unfair discrimination because of COVID-19 vaccination status and ensure robust enforcement for this protection;
- Ensure that educational institutions and government entities are prohibited from unfairly discriminating against current and prospective employees, students, and residents based on COVID-19 vaccination status;
- Ensure that employees improperly denied employment based on COVID-19 vaccination status can be eligible for reemployment benefits and, if needed, ensure that employees injured by a COVID-19 vaccination taken under a company policy are covered by workers’ compensation;
- Appropriate a sufficient amount of funds to investigate complaints regarding COVID-19 vaccination mandates and to take legal action against such mandates, including mandates imposed by the Federal Government;
- Clarify that the Parents’ Bill of Rights, Chapter 1014, Florida Statutes, vests the decision on masking with parents, not government entities, and that schools must comply with Department of Health rules that govern student health, including rules that ensure healthy students can remain in school;
- Limit mandates by school districts on students or employees regarding COVID-19 and related mitigation measures;
- Provide adequate enforcement mechanisms to ensure that Florida law is followed and the rights of parents are honored;
- Direct the State to evaluate whether it should assert jurisdiction over occupational safety and health issues for government and private employees;
- Repeal the authority for the State Health Officer to order forced injections or vaccinations under Section 381.00315, Florida Statutes, originally enacted in 2002; and
- Create as necessary public records exemptions related to complaints and investigations described herein.
To hear testimonials of employees affected by vaccine mandates, the video of Governor DeSantis’ press conference from Thursday, October 21st, where he called for the Special Session is available for use here, and the video of Governor DeSantis’ press conference from Thursday, October 28th, where he announced a lawsuit against the Biden Administration is available for use here, both courtesy of the Governor’s Press Office.