Florida Democrats showed a unified front early Monday in opposition to this week’s scheduled special session on vaccination mandates. Lawmakers are scheduled to convene Monday afternoon to begin deliberations on several proposals ranging from the rejection of federal vaccination mandates, the protection of private health information, stripping a state surgeon general’s authority to mandate vaccines, and the exploration of a plan to withdraw from the federal Occupational safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
During competing media events, Democrats voiced their concerns and opposition to the proposals and nearly universally labeled many of the proposals put forward by Governor Ron DeSantis and Republican lawmakers as “political grandstanding” with little to no real purpose.
In particular, Democrats pointed to the proposal to establish a state version of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements in Florida as a prime example of Republican political theater, with Democrats saying the proposed bill will accomplish nothing useful in the near term and labeling the bill as little more than “political platitudes” meant for the consumption of the Republican base.
“I don’t see a situation where it’s anything more sophisticated than a copy and paste of what existing OSHA guidelines and regulations were already,” said Democrat State Senator Jason Pizzo, “That we’ll have a Florida OSHA is not likely until at least 2024 or 2025.”
Senator Janet Cruz went even further with her criticisms of the proposal.
“I really do believe Floridians want real life legislation that supports them,” said Cruz. “This is just theater, and it’s unfortunate that we have to be, that we’re required to be, part of this theater.”
House Democrats offered similar sentiments, particularly about HB5b, the proposal to create a Florida version of OSHA, with House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell taking the lead during an online media availability early Monday.
“To me, Bill 5b is nothing more than a political stunt. Frankly The entire special session is a political stunt,” Driskell said. “We know that in order to unwind Florida from being involved in OSHA would take years…we also know that it will cost millions of dollars at the start to do this. We’re talking about increasing bureaucracy in Florida where there’s already a system under the federal government for us to have these occupational safety standards.”
House lawmakers are scheduled to convene at 12:45pm, while the Senate will kick off their hearings at 1pm today.