Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces dates for special COVID-19 legislative session

Coronavirus

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Pembroke Pines, Fla. The site at C. B. Smith Park will offer monoclonal antibody treatment sold by Regeneron to people who have tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the dates for a previously announced special session of the state legislature aimed at increasing protections for Florida workers amid COVID-19 restrictions and federal vaccine mandates.

According to the governor’s office, the special session will begin on Nov. 15 and run through Nov. 19 at the latest.

The announcement is a follow-up to DeSantis’ promise a week ago to call the legislature together again and address protections for Floridians impacted by vaccine requirements of businesses and the federal government as a condition of employment.

“Your right to earn a living should not be contingent upon COVID shots,” DeSantis said in a press release. “We have somehow gone from 15 days to slow the spread to 3 jabs to keep your job. In Florida, we believe that the decision whether or not to get a COVID shot is a choice based on individual circumstances.”

The statement goes on to reiterate legal actions the state government is taking to combat the federal vaccine mandates issued by President Joe Biden.

Among the goals of the special session, the second this year after the close of the normal 60-day gathering of lawmakers, the state is expected to work on strengthening the previously passed Parents’ Bill of Rights, and removing protections from liability for businesses that require vaccination against COVID-19.

The full list of policy goals for the special COVID session are set below, as previously reported on WFLA:

  • If someone is fired from their job for refusing an employer-required COVID-19 vaccine, then that person should be eligible for reemployment assistance.
  • If someone has an adverse medical reaction from an employer-required COVID-19 vaccine, then that person should be eligible for workers compensation coverage.
  • If an employer fires someone based on an arbitrary COVID-19 vaccine mandate, then the employer should not receive the benefits of current COVID-19 liability protections.
  • If an employer fires someone solely based on COVID-19 vaccine status, then that business may not enforce a non-compete agreement against the employee.
  • Employers must provide notice to employees of religious and health exemptions. Fired employees should have a right to sue if employers fail to provide such notice.
  • DEO shall establish a program to connect employees terminated based on COVID-19 vaccine status with other employment opportunities.
  • Reaffirm that government entities, including school districts, may not fire any employee based on COVID-19 vaccine status. Violating government entities should be held accountable.

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