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TALLAHASSEE (Fla.) (Fla.)After Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a sweeping legislative package Thursday to fight federal regulations.
DeSantis, who is a Republican, signed the bills into law at the Brandon car dealership. He also adopted a coded stand in for swearing in front of President Joe Biden, which has been popular in right-wing circles.
“We’re making sure that all people have a right to earn a living, and that people have the right to protections at their place of employment , and parents have protections to be able to direct the upbringing of their kids,” DeSantis said.
The bill’s signing will conclude the special legislative session that was called by DeSantis as he continues to fight against vaccine mandates pushed by the White House. The governor, who is running for reelection and eyeing an eventual presidential run in 2024 has become one of the nation’s most prominent Republicans through his opposition to lockdowns and other virological rules.
The new law prohibits businesses from mandating vaccines unless they permit employees to choose to opt out for religious beliefs, medical reasons, immunity based on a prior infection, regular testing or a consent to wear protective equipment. The state health department, which is headed by Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, who opposes mandates, will be charged with defining the criteria for exemptions.
The measure also includes fines for businesses that fire a worker without allowing the exemptions. Furthermore, it prohibits schools and governments from having vaccine mandates and allows parents to sue schools for masking requirements.
Democrats have criticized the bills as politically motivated and dangerous to public health.
“Laissez-faire epidemiology, outright disinformation, and Florida’s terrible death toll have all contributed to the death toll in Florida’s gruesome,” said Rep. Evan Jenne (a Democrat).
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