TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing back against the federal government's new vaccination rules that were announced Thursday.
The federal policy would affect tens of millions of Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees. Those workers will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or get tested for the virus weekly.
At an afternoon news conference in Tallahassee, the governor said Florida will be filing a lawsuit against the federal government to fight the new policy, joining Alabama, Georgia and private plaintiffs.
"This is a rule that is not consistent with the Constitution and is not legally authorized through Congressional statutes," DeSantis said. "There is no federal police power. The federal government can't just unilaterally impose medical policy under the guise of workplace regulation."
Under the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's new rules, companies that fail to comply could face penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation.
"A year and a half ago, we started with 15 days to slow the spread [of the virus], and now it's gone to, 'Get jabbed or lose your job,'" DeSantis said.
The governor held up a stack of papers, which he said was about 500 pages, that outlined the federal new vaccine rules, saying it was a "government of a bureaucracy."
DeSantis said the vaccine mandate policy would be a "significant impediment to the economy" if it is allowed, saying he is seeking to protect people's jobs.
"At the end of the day, individuals should make informed choices about their own health care," DeSantis said. "They shouldn't be coerced into getting a jab."
He also challenged the "emergency" nature of the vaccine rules, saying it took two months to issue the policy after it was first announced two months ago and is not scheduled to go into effect until January.
President Joe Biden first unveiled his six-pronged plan to combat COVID-19 in the U.S. on Sept. 9.
Florida House Democrats said DeSantis is wasting taxpayer money on lawsuits to further his political ambitions.