Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed Thursday to go to court to fight any vaccine mandates from the federal government.
The Republican governor said the state would not accept the legitimacy of President Biden’s proposal for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to mandate that businesses with more than 100 employees require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We are going to contest that immediately. We think the state of Florida has standing to do it,” Mr. DeSantis said. “We also know businesses that we’re going to work with to contest it.”
Mr. DeSantis said he was especially angered by mandates on public-safety workers, many of whom were forced to stay on the job in the early months of the pandemic when there was no vaccine. Now they can be fired for assuming risks they were then heroes for taking.
“Let’s not have Biden come in and effectively take away — threaten to take away — the jobs of people who have been working hard throughout this entire pandemic,” Mr. DeSantissaid during a news conference in Fort Myers.
“I am offended that a police officer could potentially lose their job,” the governor said.
He added: “I just think it’s fundamentally wrong to be taking people’s jobs away, particularly given the situations that we see ourselves facing with the economy.”
Mr. DeSantis is not the first Republican governor to vow to fight the feds on this matter. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this week banned vaccine requirements in his state.
The Florida chief executive has emerged as one of the leading resisters to COVID-related regulations, also including mask mandates, school closings and enforced lockdowns.
He has prevented many of Florida’s school districts and local governments from issuing mask and vaccine mandates, including forcing the city of Gainesville to back off its vaccine mandate and noting that some of the city’s police officers were about to be fired.
“They were not given the ability to work from home, they didn’t get to Zoom in to protect us and kind of work to protect the public on Zoom, you got to be out there,” he said. “They were there the entire time.”
• Victor Morton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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