Florida becomes 1st state with law imposing fines on companies requiring COVID vaccine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Thursday four bills passed by Republicans that protect workers who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: With the bills signed, Florida becomes the first state with a law imposing possible fines on companies that require a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment, CNN reports.


  • The bills were passed during a special legislative session the Republican governor convened to battle vaccine mandates. DeSantis, who has undermined federal vaccine requirements for months, claimed victory shortly before the bill was passed.
  • State Sen. Danny Burgess, a Republican who sponsored legislation, said that it "appropriately balances the rights of individuals to make their own health care decisions with the authority of employers to regulate workplaces."
  • State Democrats have slammed the bills. “Does this bill truly attempt to keep Floridians safe, or was it crafted to kick off a presidential campaign for our governor?” asked state Democratic Rep. Angie Nixon, per NBC 6.

Background: DeSantis has fought vehemently against public health measures, suing the Biden administration over its mandates and penalizing counties and districts that implement vaccine or mask mandates.

What they're saying: “I told Floridians that we would protect their jobs and today we made that the law,” DeSantis said in a statement Thursday.

  • “Nobody should lose their job due to heavy-handed COVID mandates and we had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida," he added.
  • Biden administration representatives did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with additional details about DeSantis signing the bills.


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