Gov. DeSantis Calls Special Session to Address Vaccine, Mask Mandates

McGuireWoods Consulting

In a press conference in Daytona Beach this morning, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he will exercise his constitutional authority to call a special session regarding employee vaccine mandates, mandatory masking of children in public schools, and healthcare freedom. He will submit a list of recommendations for the legislature to consider.  

Although Gov. DeSantis has not released the formal call, he did state it will be during a regularly scheduled legislative committee week in November.  

The governor specifically mentioned the following: 

  • Holding businesses accountable who heavily lobbied for liability relief related to COVID-19 last session, and then shortly after fired workers who were not vaccinated. The governor is recommending the state create a cause of action against businesses who fire employees over vaccination status.
  • The COVID-19 liability protection legislation that passed last session will be amended to eliminate protections provided to businesses if it overly burdens employees with mandates.  
  • A statute will be created to recognize the right to work without a vaccination requirement, with some exceptions. 

Gov. DeSantis is also likely to submit language which will prevent local health orders such as mask mandates and mask requirements in school not based on science and data.

Although this situation is developing, it is clear from the press conference the governor is going to push hard on these issues. Very few governors call special sessions without the votes to pass their agenda. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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