TALLAHASSI, Florida. – Hundreds of people gathered in a courtyard outside the Florida Capitol on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to pass bills to ban masks in the state, ban vaccination of children against COVID-19 and protect Florida residents from losing their jobs because they did not receive the vaccine. shots.
About 400 people waved signs and greeted speakers who represented 25 allied organizations at the Rally for Medical Freedom. Buses and car caravans have drawn ire over the demands for vaccines and masks from all over Sunshine State.
Gov. Ron Desantis (right) has called on lawmakers to come to Tallahassee this week for a special meeting, urging them to pass bills that will address various issues related to COVID-19 mandates.
One of the proposed bills being considered by lawmakers will set out ways for employees to refuse the vaccine for COVID-19, a disease caused by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus. Employers will be required to grant an exemption from vaccinations for medical reasons such as pregnancy or anticipated pregnancy, or due to natural immunity if confirmed by an antibody test approved by the State Department of Health.
The bill will also require employers to allow workers to refuse vaccinations if they choose to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Or they could opt out if they were willing to undergo periodic testing for the virus. The tests will be free for the employee. The State Department of Health (DOH) will determine how often the tests need to be done.
The bill will also require employers to exempt employees who file a DOH form from tax, explaining that they have religious reasons for not being vaccinated.
The proposed bill says that if the employer does not authorize an exemption from the vaccine, the state Department of Legal Affairs will investigate. And if employers are unwilling to back down, they can face fines of up to $ 10,000 for a violation for small businesses and up to $ 50,000 for a violation for larger businesses.
“I believe the bill was drafted to bypass Biden’s mandates in case they are not overturned by a court,” lawyer Jeff Childers wrote on his daily blog Substack, Coffee & Covid. “It’s very smart.”
Childers, who runs a small law firm in Gainesville, has been handling cases related to the disguise mandate since mid-2020. He has organized an allied group of lawyers from across the country who are sharing files and strategies in a growing number of cases to fight vaccine and camouflage mandates across the country.
Another part of the proposed law would ban vaccination of students against COVID-19. DeSantis has vowed repeatedly that vaccines will not be given to children in Florida. The bill would allow parents or adult students to sue schools to enforce the law and be able to collect their lawyer’s fees.
This is very important, Childers says, because it will mean more lawyers are willing to take on these cases, knowing there is a way to get paid if they succeed.
Another new section of the law will prohibit vaccination of all government employees.
“An educational institution or government agency cannot mandate COVID-19 vaccination for any full-time, part-time or contract employee,” the proposed legislation says.
Any existing laws, regulations or policies that contradict the new law will be revoked. And employees who were fired for refusing the vaccine could receive government assistance with employment.
Another state law will be amended to prohibit the use of masks in schools. Students and staff will no longer be forced to quarantine or stay at home after infection if they do not show symptoms of COVID-19. And people who have to sue to enforce those rights will be able to collect attorney fees and costs.
The new laws will automatically expire on June 1, 2023, unless they are renewed by the Legislature.
Childers says he hopes to encourage lawmakers to “finalize the (vaccine-related) bill to add protection against discrimination against non-injected employees when hiring or in the workplace.”
Also under consideration is a bill that will order the state of Florida to begin creating a new health and safety management system so that the state can remove federal OSHA oversight. This process will take time.
But what will happen immediately, if the proposed law is passed and signed into law, is very encouraging for Childers and others who advocate freedom of medicine. Changes to the existing law would deprive a health official of the right to demand vaccinations.
“Even though I never really bothered about this law because it was completely unconstitutional and was never used, it still annoyed a lot of people for its mere existence,” Childers wrote on his blog. “Good riddance.”
But some of those who vehemently opposed the vaccination regulations and the ban on the use of masks are unhappy with the proposed package of laws.
They asked their supporters to urge representatives to repeal bills that don’t go far enough. Rather than giving employees the option to waive vaccination requirements, they say vaccination requirements should be completely banned.
But in the courts, it may not move fast enough to help thousands of workers who could lose their jobs if a decision is not made soon, Childers said.
Stephen Davis was the chief of the Orange County Fire and Rescue Battalion until he was fired in October for refusing to discipline employees for not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Wearing his fireman’s helmet, he told his story to the crowd on Tuesday.
“We all need to stand up and be leaders,” he said. “We need to get up. We need to wake up. And we need to attract other people. “
Michelle Childers, along with the Alachua Moms for Freedom and the Alliance for Responsible Government groups, acknowledged divisions among some conservatives over legislation to eliminate vaccines instead of bans. She is Jeff Childers’ wife.
On Tuesday, she told the crowd outside the Capitol, “This is a good score. This is not a perfect account, but it will bring us some relief. “