Florida GOP moves to combat vaccine mandates, virus rules

Florida lawmakers have begun debating a package of bills to combat coronavirus vaccine mandates, continuing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ fight against virus rules

The weeklong special legislative session in the GOP-controlled statehouse includes proposals to let workers opt out of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and allow parents to sue schools with masking requirements.

Republicans are also moving to allow parents to sue school districts with mask mandates. The governor’s administration has previously docked the salaries of school board members who defied a state ban on mask requirements in classrooms and slashed overall funding to districts that received a federal grant to offset the state penalties. School districts have since eased their masking rules.

Democrats have denounced the special session as political theater meant to raise DeSantis’ standing within the GOP.

“I am sick and tired of having to be a pawn in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political ambitions,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat.

The DeSantis administration has previously sued the White House over a rule requiring vaccinations for federal contractors and recently joined more than two dozen other Republican-led states in lawsuits challenging another federal vaccine mandate for private businesses with 100 employees or more.

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