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DeSantis seeks injunction against vaccine mandate for federal workers

Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking in Lakeland, announced the state is suing the federal government of...
Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking in Lakeland, announced the state is suing the federal government of worker vaccine mandates.(The Florida Channel)
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 12:12 PM EDT
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LAKELAND, Fla. (WWSB) - Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday the state of Florida has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the federal government from requiring Florida employees of federal contractors to be fully vaccinated from the COVID-19 virus.

The state is seeking a preliminary injunction to keep the Biden administration from enforcing orders signed last month stipulating that most federal employees and federal contractors, be vaccinated by Nov. 22.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Tampa, targets the large aerospace industry in Florida, naming NASA and it’s administrator, former Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, as one of the defendants in the case. Other defendants are President Joe Biden, as well as the heads of the federal General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget.

The Office of Management and Budget released the new guidance Monday afternoon ahead of the Nov. 22 deadline, outlining specific medical conditions that would warrant an exemption. Under the guidelines, agencies are to direct workers to get their first shot within two weeks of an exemption request being denied, or the resolution of a medical condition. They also make clear that federal agencies may deny medical or religious exemptions if they determine that no other safety protocol is adequate.

The Biden administration is drawing on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to determine approved medical exemptions, including a history of allergic reaction to the vaccines. Other conditions, including being treated with monoclonal antibodies or having a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome, warrant a 90-day delay in vaccination, in accordance with CDC advice.

Speaking at the Florida Aviation Museum in Lakeland, DeSantis said the vaccination mandates are eroding personal liberty. “We believe that these things are choices based on individual circumstances,” he said. “We cannot have the federal government coming in and exceeding their power.

“They’re rewriting contracts. ... They’re transforming normal contracting into, basically, public health policy.”

He predicted any mandate would damage the economy. “People are going to lose their jobs. They’re going to get fired. Some may just voluntarily walk away,” he said

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody went on the attack. “Never did we dream that in this administration we would have to repeatedly push back on illegal actions,” she said, calling the Biden administration incompetent and reckless.

“It is a complete and gross overreach of the federal government into the personal autonomy of American workers,” she said.

“We will not back down.”

-- Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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