Florida legislature approves bill to limit COVID-19 vaccine mandates

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Florida Senate Republicans on Wednesday succeeded in passing a bill to limit COVID-19 vaccine mandates for public and private employers in the state, the Hill reports. Senate Bill 1 has now been sent to Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it into law.

Passed by 24-14 votes along mainly party lines, Senate Bill 1 prohibits private-sector employers from requiring their staff to take the COVID-19 vaccine unless they allow at least five specific exemptions to the mandate, the Hill reports. The exemptions include medical and religious reasons, and immunity from a prior coronavirus infection.

The bill also provides for employees to be tested regularly instead of being vaccinated, if they agree to use personal protective equipment provided by the employer. The employee would not have to pay for the testing, the Hill reported. Moreover, the bill prohibits the government and the public education sector from mandating COVID-19 vaccines, the Hill reports.

In a statement Wednesday, the Florida Senate said the bill: “Protects students, parents, workers, and employers in our state by creating a framework for employees to make the best decision for their health and affirming the rights of parents to make healthcare decisions for their children.”

Florida is among several Republican-led states that have filed suit against the Biden administration in a legal challenge to vaccine and testing mandates for large private businesses, the Hill said. The state is also suing the Biden administration over vaccine mandates for federal contractors.

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