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Governor Ron DeSantis plans lawsuit to stop Biden Administration's vaccine mandate

OSHA rule expected to be issued Friday
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Posted at 3:42 PM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 23:16:57-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Thursday the state would join a lawsuit from Alabama, Georgia, and some private entities to challenge the constitutionality of a federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate being issued by OSHA.

The new rule is being issued by OSHA to increase the vaccination rate against COVID-19 which has fueled the pandemic for nearly the last two years. The Biden administration announced the rule several weeks ago and Governor DeSantis said that is one of the reasons the rule doesn’t make sense.

“I think it’s interesting it’s being done under the guise of emergency power,” DeSantis said. “It was announced two months ago. Then why did it take you two months to publish it and it doesn’t take effect until January."

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody also questioned using OSHA for the rule questioning if the COVID-19 pandemic has been a “grave danger.”

“First, let’s start with the fact that they aren’t using the normal rule-making process. They’re saying this is an emergency and we’re going to cut through all of the normal safeguards and protocols because this is an emergency,” Attorney General Moody said.

Moody continued, “OSHA was set up to deal with workplace situations. And in fact, when you’re regulating the workplace it’s supposed to prevent against grave danger. For chemicals and other workplace situations not a general health policy or a mandate using an agency to force that on the American worker.”

The governor also warned that if the OSHA rule isn’t opposed now, the federal government could continue to implement further rules.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” DeSantis said. “There will be more restrictions and more power brought to bear.”

When the rule is published, which is expected Friday, that’s when the lawsuits will be filed by states that oppose vaccination mandates. Other states run by Republicans have also either pledged to file lawsuits, join lawsuits, or implemented orders banning their states from taking part in any mandates.

Once the lawsuit is filed, DeSantis said it would likely be heard by the 11th Federal Circuit. Initially, the state wants an injunction preventing the rule from going into place.

If the state loses at a 3-judge panel level, the governor said the state would seek an en banc hearing, or full appellate court hearing in front of all the judges. If the state lost there as well, the state would then seek a writ of certiorari from the Supreme Court for a hearing.

DeSantis also said the state would oppose any rules from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that implement a vaccine mandate for health care workers. Many systems in the U.S. have already implemented such mandates, but the governor said the state would file suit if needed against any CMS policy.

The governor also sought to send a message to parents that there would not be any vaccine mandates for children in the state of Florida. However, DeSantis also took time to note on his way out the door, when he speaks of vaccine mandates; he is only talking about for COVID-19, not other diseases that children must be vaccinated against.

"We'll stand up for the constitution. We’ll stand for people’s rights. We’ll stand up for people’s jobs and I think that you will see this put on hold relatively quickly as these cases start to get filed," said Governor DeSantis.