Special legislative session in Florida to address vaccine mandates

Special legislative session in Florida to address vaccine mandates

Tallahassee, Florida. — When Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature begins its own session Monday, lawmakers will consider several bills aimed at banning vaccine mandates and enabling parents to challenge mandates for vaccines and masks in schools.

“We’re going to create a lot of jobs in Florida,” Governor Ron DeSantis said during a news conference last week. “We will strike a blow for freedom. We will stand up against Biden’s mandate. And we will be better off as a result.”

Despite the objections of Democratic lawmakers to the bills, News 6 political analyst and history professor at the University of California, Jim Clark, believes the measures are likely to pass easily with some modifications or additions.

“The governor made it clear what he wanted,” Clark said. “I think everything is done. I don’t think the leadership will allow any changes unless the leadership and the governor want any changes.”


The bills under consideration at the start of the special session include:

HB 1 / SB 2-B

  • Government employers will be prohibited from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

  • Private employers will be prohibited from enforcing the COVID-19 vaccine mandate without offering individual exemptions including:

    • Medical (including pregnancy)

    • religious

    • Immunity from previous infection with COVID-19

    • periodic test

    • Employer-provided personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Private employers with fewer than 100 employees can be fined $10,000, and employers with 100 or more employees can be fined $50,000 if the Florida attorney general finds that the employee was improperly terminated

  • Employees who are terminated for not complying with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate will be eligible for unemployment assistance

  • Public schools will be banned from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates on students

  • Public schools are prohibited from requiring students without symptoms to quarantine if the student does not receive a positive COVID-19 test result

  • Parents will be authorized to file a case against the school district seeking compensation with an injunction

  • The approved provisions expire on June 1, 2023

HB 7-B / SB 8-B

  • Contrasting language from an existing law that currently gives a state health official the authority to enforce vaccinations during a public health emergency

SB 4-B / HB 3-B

  • Create exceptions to the Florida Public Records Act, making an employee’s medical and religious information confidential in investigative reports related to vaccine state complaints

HB 5-B / SB 6-B

  • $1 million will be allocated to the Governor’s Executive Office to develop a proposal for a state plan to assure the state’s mandate on occupational and safety issues for government employees and the private sector

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