Lawmakers stake positions on vaccine mandate Special Session

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 11:19 PM CDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Governor Ron DeSantis surprised lawmakers when he said he would call the Legislature into a Special Session to deal with vaccine mandates, but already, lawmakers are staking their positions on the Governor’s proposed agenda.

The Governor’s announcement came as a surprise, even to the House Speaker.

“We will be calling the Legislature back for a special session,” said Governor Ron DeSantis at a rally Thursday morning.

It comes three days after a blanket vaccine mandate ban failed in Texas.

“The reason the bill failed in Texas is you did see this uprising and this resistance from business owners. So it’s a very tricky mine field to navigate,” said Representative Spencer Roach.

Unlike the Texas proposal, the Governor’s plan wouldn’t ban mandates, but businesses would lose COVID liability protections for firing an employee over vaccination status.

The Governor’s plan would seemingly put businesses in a catch 22: don’t mandate vaccines and risk the virus and federal fines or mandate the vaccine and risk pandemic-related lawsuits.

Democrat Fentrice Driskell said no business should have to make that choice.

“What an untenuous choice for a business owner who wants to keep themselves safe, wants to keep their workers safe, wants to stay open and be that you know, bedrock of the community that we need them to be,” said Representative Driskell.

Representative Scott Plakon told us he supports the Governor fighting back against the Biden Administration.

“Joe Biden wants to be my doctor, and I find it repulsive, offensive, and I’m glad that Governor DeSantis is standing up to these bullies,” said Plakon.

Representative Cord Byrd said striking a balance between the rights of employers and employees will be at the heart of any legislation.

“What are the limits of free markets and then coercion. So I’m just glad that we’re going to have that discussion,” said Byrd.

The Governor’s plan also calls for lawmakers to allow unemployment benefits be paid for workers fired over vaccines and allows employees to claim workers compensation if they have an adverse reaction to a mandated vaccine.

The Governor also wants a blanket prohibition on public sector vaccine mandates.

The Governor vowed the special special session would come before year’s end.