The Florida legislature and big business have worked together this week to water down Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) anti-vaccine mandate proposal.
The DeSantis-ordered legislative special session, headed by establishment Republican Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R) and President of the Florida Senate Wilton Simpson (R), will likely result in bowing to woke corporations that support Biden’s vaccine mandate on businesses with 100 or more employees.
— Jennifer Cabrera Ƕ (@jhaskinscabrera) September 18, 2021
The special session will unlikely hold corporations responsible for firing unvaccinated employees. Woke corporations have reportedly communicated to Florida Republicans that “they didn’t want to be told what they couldn’t do any more than they wanted the federal government to tell them what they had to do to keep their workplaces safe,” the Miami Herald reported Friday.
“I want to stand for freedom,’’ state Sen. Aaron Bean (R) of the Jacksonville area told the paper. “But there’s also the argument that if I own a small company, and I have underlying health conditions, and I want to make sure all those that interact with me are safe, are vaccinated, who are we to tell that small business owner what they can’t do?”
Though woke corporations would appear to prefer to not navigate state law that bans Biden’s mandate, many have done little to combat Biden’s order.
Such is the case with Nemours Children’s Health, which implemented a company-wide vaccine requirement as a “term of employment.” The deadline to comply with the requirement was October 6.
Woke opponents have another trick up their collective sleeves. According to Sen. Jeff Brandes (R) of St. Petersburg, corporations have reportedly lobbied state Republicans for liability protection, and Republicans seem open to the idea.
“Associated Industries of Florida, the hospital association, a lot of other associations and all of your large employers had an over-sized influence in helping clarify where Florida’s position should be on liability protection,’’ Brandes told the Herald.
— Chris Sprowls (@ChrisSprowls) October 21, 2021
As a result, Florida Republicans will not consider any measures during the legislative session to remove “liability protections or creating new causes of actions for employees,” the Herald reported. “With the most contentious issue for businesses removed, legislators left several provisions which the governor will be able to campaign on as a victory.”
Rather than causing companies to accept liability for those who have been harmed by losing their job, the Florida legislature, which has been Republican-controlled for 22 years, will seek to create a safety net that further reduces corporations’ responsibility towards workers they terminate.
For instance, provision SB 2 of the bill under consideration would pay state unemployment to those who choose to remain unvaccinated, a burden Florida taxpayers would shoulder.
“It’ll be the first time that a voluntary quit is eligible for payment,” Rich Templin, legislative and policy director for the Florida AFL-CIO, told the Florida Phoenix.
Biden’s vaccine mandate was to take effect in January but a federal appeals court on Friday ruled a stay on order. Yet the threat of just one court permitting the nationwide mandate puts added pressure on the states to block Biden’s “one-size-fits-all sledgehammer.”
A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reaffirmed its stay on President Joe Biden’s workplace vaccine mandate on Friday. https://t.co/SrjBMmRRNj
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 14, 2021
It is not the first time the Republican-controlled legislature has shrunk from protecting Floridians in recent years. For instance, the legislature has twice failed to enact pro-life measures to protect babies unborn.
The legislature has failed to enact E-Verify for private corporations. E-Verify is a system that would dictate private employers confirm the legal status of employees before hiring them, which would reduce inexpensive labor and raise wages for legal Florida residents.
The legislature has also failed to enact open carry, a second amendment provision that would end some restrictions when carrying a gun in public.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø
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