November 17, 2021

FL Legislature Passes Landmark Anti-Vaccine Mandate Legislation

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By Eric Daugherty

November 17, 2021 Updated 7:40 P.M. ET

TALLAHASSEE (FCV) – Wednesday, the Florida State House of Representatives and Senate passed landmark anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate legislation. 

The four bills will now be sent to the desk of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R). The Governor is expected to sign the legislation.

The legislation swiftly passed after DeSantis convened the legislature on Monday.

The special session took place as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared it will suspend enforcement of its Biden-era vaccine mandate due to a federal court ruling.

House Bill 1 – COVID-19 Mandates

House Bill 1 (HB 1) will prohibit private employers from imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for particular employees and will require employers to provide certain exemptions for employees from a vaccine requirement.

HB 1 will additionally nullify any governmental action that “imposes mandates” relating to COVID-19. According to the law, students may not be required by Florida schools to wear masks, and no governmental entity or education institution may require vaccination against COVID-19 for employment.

Read the full description here.

House Bill 7B – Vaccinations During Public Health Emergencies

House Bill 7B removes the authority of the State Health Officer to order vaccination of individuals upon a declaration of a public health emergency. Read the full description here.

House Bill 5B – Florida Occupational Safety and Health State Plan

House Bill 5B requires the Governor’s office to develop a proposal for asserting Florida’s jurisdiction over occupational safety and health issues for government and private employees, in a seeming direct rebuttal to the Biden Administration’s policies with OSHA.

Read the full bill description here.

House Bill 3 – COVID-19 Vaccination Policies and Practices

House Bill 3 “provides exemptions from public records requirements for employee complaints alleging private employer’s violation of state law regarding employer COVID-19 vaccination policies or practices.” Read more about the bill here.

The 4 major pieces of legislation took a mere two days to be fully approved by the Florida legislature.

DeSantis convened the special session primarily in opposition to the Biden Administration’s push for nationwide vaccine mandates. The Governor has also sued the federal government over its various nationwide vaccine rules. It is unclear how the lawsuits will pan out after a federal court declared the OSHA rule unconstitutional.

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