Florida GOP limits vaccine mandates, flouting White House
Florida Republicans approved a sweeping bill Wednesday to hobble coronavirus vaccine mandates in businesses, rejecting claims that they were sacrificing public health to hand Gov. Ron DeSantis a win in his fight against White House virus rules.
Lawmakers in GOP-controlled statehouse expedited the measure, along with a package of virus bills, after hours of debate in which Republicans maintained they were protecting workers from onerous mandates by the federal government.
“If you want to get a vaccine, you can get a vaccine. If you don’t want to get a vaccine, you can choose not to get a vaccine,” said Sen. Danny Burgess, a Republican. “That’s the entire purpose of this bill, trusting Floridians and allowing us to make that choice for ourselves.”
DeSantis, a Republican, called the special legislative session on vaccine mandates as he wages a legal and media campaign against vaccine mandates pushed by Democratic President Joe Biden. The governor has become a star in the GOP through his opposition to lockdowns and other virus rules, boosting his profile as he runs for reelection and eyes a possible 2024 presidential run.