DeSantis pushing back against Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2021, file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa. Companies with at least 100 workers will be required to give employees paid time off to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and paid sick leave if they have side effects from the shots. That’s according to a Biden administration official who spoke Monday, Nov. 1, about pending vaccine-mandate rules from OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

A lawsuit has put the president’s vaccine mandate for businesses on hold, and now, Florida leaders are voicing their concerns.

OSHA is mandating businesses with 100 employees or more require their employees to get the vaccine or get tested weekly.

Governor DeSantis promised Floridians he will fight president Biden’s vaccine mandate tooth and nail. “We are going to be saving a lot of jobs in the state of Florida. We are going to be striking a blow for freedom. We are going to be standing up to the Biden mandates.”

The governor and Republican state leaders rolled out a set of bills – the keep Florida free agenda – that they plan to pass during the upcoming special session.

One bill prohibits companies from having vaccine mandates unless they provide at least five exemptions for workers.

Those exemptions include medical reasons like pregnancy or expected pregnancy, religion or lab tests that show immunity from a prior COVID-19 infection.

“This will be probably the strongest protection for both public and private sector employees anywhere in the country,” said DeSantis.

If the bill becomes law employers who fire workers over their vaccination status could face up to $50,000 in fines per violation.

That’s more than double the fine businesses could face for violating the president’s mandate to be enforced by OSHA.

Chris Sprowls, speaker of the Florida House of Representatives said, “we want out of OSHA. We will submit our own regulatory authority and say goodbye to the federal government.”

States can opt-out of OSHA, but OSHA monitors those plans and requires they are as strict as OSHA’s guidelines in preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths.

It is important to note is that the president’s order includes a provision that says it supersedes any state law.

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