DeSantis Convenes Special Session with Florida Legislators to Crack Down on Vaccine Mandates.
Florida lawmakers will gather for a special session called “Keep Florida Free” beginning Monday, called by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in October with the goal of blocking COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Both houses of the Republican-controlled state legislature are scheduled to consider four bills that will impose tougher penalties on businesses and local governments that require COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees, and schools that require students to wear masks.
“No policeman, no firefighter, no nurse, no one should lose their job due to these beatings; we must defend the people and protect their jobs and livelihoods,” DeSantis said in a press release. “We are going to strike for freedom.”
With infection rates falling in the state, Democrats have criticized DeSantis’s war on mask and vaccine mandates as a political movement fighting efforts to control the virus, rather than the virus itself.
DeSantis wants to “add a little red meat to the base and keep them happy”, said State Representative Michael Grieco of Miami Beach. “Decisions are made based on politics, not the welfare, health and safety of Floridians.”
The Governor and other Republicans who view the vaccine mandates as a federal overreach and a violation of personal liberties have rejected President Joe Biden’s vaccine launch efforts, forcing the public health issue into the purview of partisan politics.
Last month, Florida sued the Biden administration for a broad mandate that requires millions of federal workers to be vaccinated by November 22.
“What the federal government is doing is wrong. It is wrong to kick people out of work; it is wrong to try to micromanage businesses, and it is wrong to deprive key industries of the people we need,” DeSantis said.
When Florida emerged as the epicenter of the virus amid the rising Delta earlier this year, DeSantis surrounded himself with controversial health experts against mask and vaccine mandates who opposed mask mandates, advocating for a more targeted response. to the virus.
Since then, he has become one of the most recognized Republican leaders in the country for his approach to addressing the pandemic.
His message on COVID-19 echoes the Great Barrington Declaration, a document co-authored by Stanford professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, which advocates protecting those most at risk and allowing others to develop immunity from a natural infection.
The governor, who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in April, officially launched his bid for re-election in 2022 last Monday.