Florida Republicans Pass Bill Setting Stage For Clash With Biden Over Vaccine Rules

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Florida Republicans moved a step closer to a high-profile fight with the Biden administration over Covid-19 guidelines on Wednesday, adopting legislation that would punish companies who require vaccinations unless they provide a large number of exemptions.

In a special session called by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who has fought a public struggle against mask and vaccine regulations, the GOP-led Legislature enacted numerous laws aimed at coronavirus limitations in mainly party-line votes. All four bills are anticipated to be signed by him.

The plan, which would enable limited exemptions for medical and religious reasons and would impose fines on firms with mandates that do not comply with upcoming state rules, is aimed at President Joe Biden’s vaccine requirements for private enterprises. When the legislation becomes law, the state Health Department, directed by Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, a Covid vaccination opponent, will determine what qualifies as an exemption, as per the Associated Press.

The bill also prohibits schools from asking pupils to be immunized or wear masks. Late this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer-lower-dose BioNTech’s Covid vaccination for children aged 5 to 11.

Read More: Florida Legislature Sends Desantis Four Bills Protecting Workers Who Refuse Covid-19 Vaccine

The three other bills would remove the state from Occupational Safety and Health Administration monitoring, conceal Covid-related complaints from public scrutiny, and limit state health authorities’ ability to require vaccines during public health emergencies.

“You may obtain a vaccination if you so choose. If you do not want to receive a vaccination, you can opt not to receive one “According to The Associated Press, GOP Sen. Danny Burgess stated. “Trusting Floridians and enabling us to make that option for ourselves is the entire point of this law.”

State Democrats slammed the bill, claiming that the session was a ruse to raise DeSantis’ national stature.

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