ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis said he’s calling a special legislative session to fight back against companies and local governments that punish employees for not following their COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
A former Orange County Fire Rescue battalion chief was fired on Tuesday after refusing to give reprimands to firefighters for not following the vaccine mandate.
Stephen Davis now has the support of DeSantis, who is taking a stand against similar mandates statewide.
In the meantime, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said his mandate is meant to keep everyone safe from the virus.
“We will aggressively defend our right to protect our citizens,” Demings said. “Unfortunately, the governor and others have politicized getting vaccinated. They seem to care more about using firefighters as political pawns rather than as public servants who are entrusted to protect and serve. You asked me what my response to the governor, or anyone else, I say these simple works: bring it on.”
The governor wants legislation passed to make it illegal for governments to mandate vaccines for government employees, to make those who are fired for refusing a vaccine eligible for re-employment assistance and to give them coverage if they get sick because of employer-related vaccinations.
“We have a responsibility to fight back and defend the constitutional systems,” DeSantis said.
The exact dates of the special session are not known yet, however, lawmakers are scheduled to be in Tallahassee for committee meetings the weeks of Nov. 1, Nov. 15 and Nov. 29.