Lawmakers begin DeSantis special session on vaccines
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAP NEWS/WCJB) - Florida lawmakers began their special legislative session called to push back on national vaccine mandates and protect workers from losing their jobs on Monday.
Legislation is also expected to strengthen the Parents Bill of Rights to clarify they are in control of whether their children wear masks in school.
Before lawmakers ever began Monday afternoon, several dozen central Florida firefighters were already at the Capitol supporting the ban on vaccine mandates.
Most worked through the pandemic and now believe they are getting kicked to the curb if they don’t get a shot.
“I was the 2019 Florida State Firefighter of the Year two years ago, and now since August, I’m fighting for my job,” said Orange County firefighter Jason Wheat.
The firefighters posted a new video online, explaining that they aren’t against vaccines, but believe it should be a personal choice.
“What’s going on right now is affecting firefighters mentally. Very much so emotionally wise, and also physically,” said Orange County firefighter Wendy Williams.
Inside the Capitol, Florida Democrats held a press conference pushing back on the GOP agenda.
State Senator Janet Cruz called the session political and a waste of time and money.
“I really, honestly don’t understand why people would walk around unprotected,” said Senator Cruz.
GOP House Speaker Chris Sprowls expects quick approval of the bans on vaccine mandates.
“Can someone have a religious exemption, can that be possible? Yes. Should someone have a medical exemption, or testing, or if they just got COVID last week, should they have to be vaccinated this week? Does that make sense? If they are pregnant, should they have to get vaccinated? If they are willing to submit to daily or weekly testing, should they have to get vaccinated?” said Sprowls.
While the session is scheduled to go five full days, lawmakers have scheduled floor votes on Wednesday, which means they could go home two days early.”
The Governor was in Miami early in the day at the Freedom Tower, pushing a plan to restore the symbolic building.
He didn’t take questions, but the underlying message was made clear by Lt. Governor Janette Nunez.
“The free state of Florida stands with you,” said Nunez.
Several busloads of firefighters are expected at the Capitol Tuesday, as the full House takes the first vote on the package of bills in the morning.
RELATED STORY: Florida lawmakers to spend $6M fighting vaccine mandates
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