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DeSantis calls for law banning employer vaccine mandates

Gov. Ron DeSantis
The Florida Channel
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Gov. Ron DeSantis says the state can’t wait until the 2022 legislative session to “strengthen” state laws against requiring COVID vaccinations for workers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday called for a special legislative session next month to push back against White House attempts to require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

DeSantis said that while he and Attorney General Ashley Moody build a case to legally contest any federal mandates, the state can’t wait until the 2022 legislative session, which begins in January, to “strengthen” state laws.

“We want to make sure that individuals in Florida have their livelihoods and their jobs protected,” DeSantis said during an appearance in Clearwater while backed by people holding signs saying, “Freedom has a home here” and “Don’t tread on Florida.”

House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, sent a memo to members advising them of the pending special session.

“At this time, we have not received the dates or details regarding any proposed call,” Sprowls wrote. “We are in communication with the governor’s office and our partners in the Senate, and we will share details with you as they emerge.”

Lawmakers are scheduled to be in Tallahassee for committee meetings the weeks of Nov. 1, Nov. 15 and Nov. 29.

Democrats immediately blasted DeSantis’ announcement. “This is a purely self-serving political ploy by the governor, once again pulling out all the stops to appease — and encourage — extremist positions that fly in the face of science and public health instead of protecting our children, our communities, and our economy,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat running for governor next year, said in a prepared statement.