Florida Republicans Push for Modification of Vaccine Requirements

Florida Republicans Push for Modification of Vaccine Requirements

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
December 28, 2023

Florida Senator Jonathan Martin (R-33) has filed a bill that would alter Florida law regarding how immunization requirements are to be adopted and expands potential exemptions to them.

The bill would require the Florida Department of Health (FDH) to obtain approval of the Legislature to add any new immunizations to those required for school attendance. 

Additionally, the FDH and any other state or local authorities would be prohibited from imposing any vaccine requirements without legislative approval. Adopting recommended compulsory vaccination policies endorsed by international organizations or national vaccine requirements enacted during public health emergencies would similarly be prohibited.

Exemptions would be granted for individuals refusing to receive required state vaccines if these have not been fully approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the bill, full approval does not include vaccines that the FDA has authorized for emergency use only.

Florida Senator Ileana Garcia (R-36) filed a similar bill in late November. 

Senator Martin’s bill expands Garcia’s own, as Garcia’s only includes vaccine exemption language. 

Last October, Garcia also proposed legislation that would require Law Enforcement Officials to supervise ballot box transportation on election days. 

If enacted, police would have to be present “at all times during an election” to ensure ballot box security. 

Garcia’s proposal would also have law enforcement officers “transport the ballot box or ballot transfer container” from election offices to corresponding precincts.

Election integrity has become a prevalent issue, especially for Republicans, following former President Donald Trump’s claims of widespread election interference during the 2020 elections.   

President Trump was recently barred from the Colorado primary after the Colorado Supreme Court found that the capitol riots on January 6th “easily satisfy (the) definition of “insurrection.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, despite claiming Colorado’s decision would be eventually overturned by the US Supreme Court, declared he would not be withdrawing from the Colorado primary.

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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