Governor Ron DeSantis called for a special session of the Florida Legislature to enact protections for 1) workers against employers’ COVID-19 vaccine mandates; and 2) parents to manage healthcare decisions for their children. This will likely impact businesses and government entities who are requiring employees to be vaccinated or risk being fired. It also takes aim at school boards who require students to wear masks. Special Session has been called for the week of November 15th.
Hours after the Governor’s request, Republican leaders are looking to consider the creation of Florida’s own work safety program and remove itself from the direct oversight of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Currently, private businesses with 100 or more employees must require COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for its workers. A date for the special session has not been set yet.
The new Surgeon General Dr. Joseph L. Ladapo changed the Florida Department of Health rule about public school students’ exposure to others with COVID-19 on his second day on the job. Previously, students had to quarantine for at least four days before returning to class. Now families have sole discretion regarding their children’s masking and quarantine decisions. When the new rule went into effect on September 22nd, the legal challenges on mask mandates by the Orange, Alachua, Broward and Miami-Dade school districts were thrown out.