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Gov. DeSantis signs special session bills, including private employer vaccine mandate ban

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed multiple bills that were passed during the Florida Legislature’s...
Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed multiple bills that were passed during the Florida Legislature’s special session, which the governor called for to combat federal coronavirus policies.(CBS)
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 12:15 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2021 at 12:48 PM EST
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BRANDON, Fla. (WCTV) - Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed multiple bills that were passed during the Florida Legislature’s special session, which the governor called for to combat federal coronavirus policies.

The headliner bill prevents private businesses from issuing blanket COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Under this bill, private employers must give workers the chance to opt-out of vaccine mandates, whether it be for medical reasons, religious beliefs or immunity from a previous infection. Additionally, employees can agree to regular COVID tests or wear protective gear to avoid getting vaccinated.

The Florida Department of Health will later define the exact standards for vaccine mandate exemptions.

If a business fires an employee without allowing vaccine exemptions, it will face fines. The bill also prevents schools and governments in Florida from requiring vaccines. Parents are also empowered to sue school districts for requiring masks under this new law.

Another bill the governor signed into law strips the surgeon general of its vaccine power during public health emergencies. That power was not used during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislature also passed a bill that sets in motion a path for Florida to withdraw from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Florida is part of the group of states suing the federal government over the OSHA rule that calls for businesses with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations. That White House directive has been placed on hold after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay on Nov. 12.

The fourth and final bill the governor signed Thursday creates a public records exemption for employees who complain to the attorney general about their employer’s vaccine requirement. That exemption will end automatically on Oct. 2, 2023.

You can watch the press conference in which DeSantis signed the bills at this link or below:

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