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DeSantis hints legislation might be needed to halt vaccine-status firings

Saying that vaccine requirements would devastate Florida’s economy, Gov. Ron DeSantis hinted that legislation may be necessary to prevent private sector businesses from firing employees on the basis of their vaccination status. DeSantis’ comments came after President Joe Biden met with business leaders in Chicago and encouraged them to require that employees provide proof of vaccination or risk termination.

Earlier this year Florida lawmakers passed and DeSantis signed SB 2006. That measure specifically forbids government entities from requiring anyone, including employees, to prove vaccination status to access service or entry to county operations.

Since then Alachua County Civil Circuit Judge Monica Brasington granted a temporary injunction against the City of Gainesville’s requirement that all city employees be vaccinated in order to keep their jobs.

Meanwhile, on Oct. 6, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) fined Leon County $3.5 million for requiring that all county employees show proof of vaccination or be fired.

“Requiring private sector employees to prove vaccination status would wreck Florida’s economy,”  DeSantis said.

Businesses I talk to need employees – they want to hire – so now you may be forcing them to fire employees,” DeSantis said during an Oct. 12 press conference at St. Pete Beach. “I think you need the legislature to pass a law to be able to just say that you shouldn’t be terminated for this reason.”

Neither Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) nor Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) was available to comment on the possibility of such legislation.

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