Florida – On Monday Florida lawmakers began debating a package of bills to combat coronavirus vaccine mandates, continuing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ fight against virus rules.
The Republican measures would bar private businesses from having coronavirus vaccine mandates unless they allow exemptions for medical reasons, religious beliefs, proof of immunity based on a prior COVID-19 infection, regular testing, and an agreement to wear protective gear.
Employers would be subject to fines up to $50,000 for firing a worker without offering the exemptions.
Republicans are also moving to allow parents to sue school districts with mask mandates.
The governor’s administration has previously docked the salaries of school board members who defied a state ban on mask requirements in classrooms and slashed overall funding to districts that received a federal grant to offset the state penalties.
Democrats have denounced the special session as political theater meant to raise DeSantis’ standing within the GOP.
“I am sick and tired of having to be a pawn in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political ambitions,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat.
The DeSantis administration has joined more than two dozen other Republican-led states in lawsuits challenging another federal vaccine mandate for private businesses with 100 employees or more.