On Tuesday, Aug. 24th, Florida Representative Anthony Sabatini (R) introduced legislation (HB6009) to repeal state laws allowing for mandatory vaccinations of its citizens during a state of emergency, a provision that has been in place for eighteen years. Rep. Sabatini also announced a yet to be filed bill that would eliminate the ability of “government and woke-corporations” to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees or the public.

Earlier, Sabatini, who is running for U.S. Congress, called for a special session to block all vaccination mandates by local businesses and governments. However, GOP legislative leaders haven’t chosen to return to the Capitol to take up the matters. Sabatini said in a statement:

“I am continuing to call for a Special Session to pass this important bill. This is the first of two bills that I plan to file that will eliminate the ability of local governments and woke corporations from mandating vaccines for employees or the public.”

As reported by UncoverDC editor-in-chief Tracy Beanz in July, a closer look at the General Provisions for Public Health in Florida State Statute reveals that a provision in the current legislation—added by Jeb Bush in 2002—enables the State Department of Health to force an uncooperative citizen to be vaccinated during a public health emergency. Found in Chapter 381, in Section 318.00315, the subsection reads as follows (emphasis ours):

4. Ordering an individual to be examined, tested, vaccinated, treated, isolated, or quarantined for communicable diseases that have significant morbidity or mortality and present a severe danger to public health. Individuals who are unable or unwilling to be examined, tested, vaccinated, or treated for reasons of health, religion, or conscience may be subjected to isolation or quarantine.

a. Examination, testing, vaccination, or treatment may be performed by any qualified person authorized by the State Health Officer.
b. If the individual poses a danger to the public health, the State Health Officer may subject the individual to isolation or quarantine. If there is no practical method to isolate or quarantine the individual, the State Health Officer may use any means necessary to vaccinate or treat the individual.

On May 3, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law SB 2006, an extension of Executive Order 21-81, intended to prevent arbitrary lockdowns, vaccine passports and enhance emergency preparedness for future emergencies. The landmark legislation “aimed at stemming the tide of local and state government overreach.”

SB 2006 blocks Florida businesses from demanding that patrons or customers show documentation verifying they’ve gotten the COVID-19 vaccine or proof of post-infection recovery before receiving service. The legislation also prohibits educational institutions from requiring students or residents to provide evidence of the same. Additionally, it prohibits the requirement of documentation about COVID-19 vaccines or virus recovery from being needed for any reason, including to gain access to, entry upon, or service from such educational institutions. Upon signing, Gov. DeSantis commented:

“Over the last year, we’ve avoided protracted lockdowns and school closures in Florida because I have refused to take the same approach as other lockdown Governors. This legislation ensures that legal safeguards are in place so that local governments cannot arbitrarily close our schools or businesses. In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision. I’d like to thank President Simpson, Speaker Sprowls and the Florida Legislature for getting this legislation got across the finish line.”

Sabatini’s bill, HB6009, would amend 381.00315 to exclude “vaccinated,” “vaccination,” “vaccinate or,” and “including vaccination” from the current language in the statute subsection, mentioned above. Without a special session, Sabatini’s bill likely won’t be heard until the next regular session, which begins January 11, 2022. If passed, the law would take effect on July 1, 2022. 

In addition to appealing to GOP legislative leaders, on July 28, Sabatini wrote Gov. DeSantis urging him to call a special legislative session to address vaccine and mask mandates and prevent “tyrannical left-wing local governments, radical school districts, and woke corporations—more interested in virtue-signaling than public health—from their heavy-handed and un-American approaches. Sabatini’s letter continued:

“Florida’s response to COVID-19 should always be based on the principles of individual responsibility and freedom: we should not trust individual citizens and communities to make their own health choices – not incompetent government entities. We should not sit idly by as the rights of citizens are violated.”