Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bills prohibiting vaccine mandates

DeSantis signed five bills into law, four dealing with mask and vaccine mandates, less than 12 hours after state lawmakers passed them mostly along party lines on Wednesday night.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday, Nov. 18, signed five new bills into law that protect Floridians' rights to choose their own course of medical care.

DeSantis signed the laws during a press conference at Brandon Honda, in Brandon.

DeSantis said the laws are strongest legislation of their kind against a federal mandate on employer vaccine requirements.

“We’re proud of leading; we’re proud of standing up for people’s rights,” DeSantis said. “This is a personal choice. That’s the science-based approach.”

The governor was joined by Attorney General Ashley Moody, Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson. The announcement comes fewer than 12 hours after a three-day special legislative session during which the Florida Senate voted along party lines to send the bills to DeSantis that aim at fighting federal coronavirus mandates.

1. Restrict businesses’ ability to mandate vaccines for their employees.
• Companies have to offer workers a number of exemptions or risk fines of at least $10,000 per violation from the state.
• This measure would expire June 1, 2023.

2. Ban school districts from passing mask mandates and prohibit governments from enacting vaccine requirements for public sector employees.

3. Create a public records exemption to conceal from public view investigations by the attorney general’s office into violations of the law restricting vaccine mandates.
• The investigations would become public once they are closed — except for an individual’s religious or medical information.

4. Direct DeSantis to form a plan for the state to create a new agency to replace the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration in monitoring workplace safety.

5. Strike from state law the surgeon general’s ability to mandate vaccination for an individual during a public-health crisis. 



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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