Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Monday that cities and counties in his state that comply with President Biden’s mandate and force employees to get vaccinated will be fined $5,000 per infraction.
“We are here today to make it very clear that we are going to stand for the men and women who are serving. We are going to protect Florida jobs,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Alachua County.
“We are not gonna let people be fired because of a vaccine mandate.”
DeSantis said that Biden’s mandate violates a new Florida law, SB 2006, which bans private businesses from requiring customers to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or “vaccine passports.”
The Florida law also applies to governments, he said.
The governor pointed to a recent study from Israel finding that natural immunity provided by a previous SARS CoV-2 infection is 27 times more effective than the Pfizer vaccine.
The last thing a government should want to do, he said, “is plunge people into destitution, potentially, who have been faithfully serving and working in a variety of capacities throughout this whole time.”
Last Thursday, President Biden announced the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known as OSHA, is developing a rule requiring all businesses with 100 or more employees to make sure their employees are fully vaccinated or produce a negative test result every week.
On Friday, DeSantis said Biden is “acting outside the bounds of the Constitution,” hinting at legal action while vowing to work with the Florida Legislature to oppose the mandate.
In Washington state, dozens of Washington State Patrol troopers, firefighters and other state and local government employees filed a lawsuit Friday against Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate, the Seattle Times reported.
Employees are allowed to seek medical or religious exemptions, but the lawsuit cites emails showing Inslee’s office crafted the religious exemption to be “as narrow as possible.”
The complaint contends his order will result “in certain political and religious classes being purged from civil service.”
It also argues that Inslee’s open-ended COVID-19 emergency declaration is an unreasonable use of “temporary” powers.
“By axiom, an event lasting over twenty months is not emergent,” the complaint argues.
Mike Faulk, an Inslee spokesman, contended the “requirements are in full compliance with the law.”
“We look forward to responding in court,” he told the Seattle paper in an email.