Florida lawmakers threaten to leave OSHA


Eve Murdick

Lawmakers in Florida threaten to leave OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in response to mask mandates implemented in the state.

Late last week, Florida lawmakers threatened to dissolve from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in a debate over the mask mandate. 

On Thursday, Oct. 28, Gov. Ron DeSantis requested that Florida lawmakers return to Tallahassee in order to pass laws against vaccine mandates. During this, some of Florida’s GOP legislators proposed an idea of their own that could shift Florida laws emphasized during the pandemic. More specifically, they suggested to entirely end oversight of the OSHA. 

“The agency tasked with enforcing a federal rule that would require all private businesses with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to undergo testing for the virus each week, in Florida,” Fortune said. 

However, Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls interpreted and took DeSantis’ ideas a step further. Instead of being overseen by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, they proposed that the state should be absolved from it and create a state workforce agency. Under the proposal, the state would make their own work safety agency instead of accepting federal regulations concerning COVID-19. 

“The proposal was a reaction to President Joe Biden’s administration announcing a rule, to be enforced by that agency, that says private businesses with 100 or more employees must require their workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly testing,” Tampa Bay Times said. 

As a result of Biden’s announcements, Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson made a statement saying they were willingly to go to the furthest extent in order to avoid vaccine mandates. By extent, they meant ending workplace safety oversight programs in Florida. 

“Unfortunately, OSHA is now being weaponized by the Biden Administration not to protect workers, but to institute an illegal and unconstitutional nationwide vaccine mandate that robs the American people of the dignity of work,” Simpson said in a speech. “If Florida withdraws from OSHA, our state plan would certainly maintain, or exceed the effective safety standards that currently protect employees and employers in our state.” 

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