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Perry files bills prohibiting mask and vaccine mandates

Photo courtesy of Senator Keith Perry

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

State Senator Keith Perry filed two bills yesterday for the 2022 regular session to prohibit mask and vaccine mandates; these bills may or may not be considered in the upcoming special session.

SB 592, Face Covering Mandates, provides that a county or municipality “may not require that any citizen of the United States wear a face covering.” The bill also says that school boards, school superintendents, and school principals may not require face coverings “unless the policy is authorized by a specific enabling statute that references this section.” The bill takes effect upon becoming a law. The bill is co-sponsored by Senator Tom Wright of District 14, which covers parts of Volusia and Brevard Counties.

SB 594, Discrimination on the Basis of COVID-19 Vaccination or Postinfection Recovery Status, states that governmental entities may not require documentation of COVID-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery status as a condition of licensure or certification in Florida. This is added to the language from SB 2006 (passed in the 2021 regular session) that says governmental entities may not require documentation of a COVID-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery status to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the governmental entity.

The bill adds a new section that prohibits COVID-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery status as a condition of employment by any employer, including, but not limited to, business entities, educational institutions, and governmental entities. A person’s COVID-19 vaccination status also may not be used to discriminate against a person with respect to compensation, classification, professional status, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment or any other differential treatment until all of these conditions are met: 1) The COVID-19 vaccine has been fully licensed and approved for use; 2) The COVID-19 vaccine has been clinically evaluated for its long-term potential to cause cancer, impair fertility, mutate genes, and cause automimmune, neurological, or any other chronic or serious adverse effects; 3) The FDA’s clinical trial has been evaluated for its safety for at least 3 years using a randomized double-blind control group; 4) Published, peer-reviewed studies on the vaccine’s safety have been completed over the short, medium, and long terms; 5) The risk of the vaccine has been proven to be less than that caused by COVID-19, based on the person’s age and demographic group; 6) There are no available non-pharmaceutical interventions or effective pharmaceutical treatments to reduce the risk or infection or severe disease or mortality; 7) COVID-19 must present a grave health risk to the specific population that is required to receive it; 8) The COVID-19 vaccine has been proven to prevent person-to-person transmission of the targeted infection.

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Even if all of those conditions are met, employers are required to accept objections on moral, ethical, religious, or philosophical beliefs. The bill also grants a right of action in circuit court to recover damages and reasonable attorney fees if a governmental entity violates the provisions of the bill.

The bill takes effect on becoming a law and is also co-sponsored by Senator Wright.

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