Florida Republicans have released an agenda called “Keep Florida Free” that was presented by Gov. Ron DeSantis as well as House and Senate leadership in the state. The plan was released on Monday, just ahead of a special legislative session that will address vaccine mandates in one week.
DeSantis said the state wants to allow people to make informed decisions for themselves.
“We’ve got to stop bossing people around,” he said. “We’ve got to stop the coercion, we’ve got to stop trying to browbeat people.”
SB 2/HB1B: Would prevent public educational institutions or governmental entities from requiring COVID vaccination as a condition of employment and fine companies up to $50,000 for violating it and prohibit schools from requiring masks or the COVID vaccine. Also prevents private employers from requiring vaccines.
SB4/HB3B: Create public records exemption for certain information, such as personal medical information or information regarding an employee’s religious beliefs, contained in files created during an investigation of an employer who refuses to provide the individual exemptions or terminates an employee based on COVID vaccination status.
SB6/HB5B: Would withdraw Florida from the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and assert state jurisdiction over occupational safety and health issues.
SB8B/HB7B: Would repeal provisions of existing law that could allow the state health officer to mandate vaccines.
Senator Wilton Simpson, president of the Florida Senate, said he is proud to stand with “freedom-loving Floridians across this state who are just trying to raise their families and make a living.”
“We were appalled by the unworkable, 490-page totalitarian edict the Biden Administration issued last week,” he said. “After 40 years in the private sector running businesses that depend on an in-person workforce, where significant safety risks have to be mitigated, I am shocked to see such an unconstitutional mockery of the important role of OSHA.”
Simpson said as a parent and grandparent, he continues to be “dismayed” at school district bureaucrats who “think they know better than parents.”
“Enough is enough,” he said. “Our legislation to keep Florida free inserts some common sense and clarity into the chaos we have seen in Washington by giving workers more options to stay safe on the job and honoring the rights and responsibilities of parents.”
Rep. Chris Sprowls, House Speaker, said the “authoritarian edicts from the Biden regime stop here.”
“The ‘Keep Florida Free’ agenda represents the strongest response in America against attacks on personal health decisions, livelihoods and liberty,” Sprowls said. “In Florida, we will do everything in our power to ensure that no one will be forced to get a vaccine who does not want one.”