Gubernatorial field split on OSHA vaccine rule

Governor Ron DeSantis called the nearly 500 page OSHA regulation unconstitutional. (Cap News) (News4JAX)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The State of Florida is fighting back against a new OSHA rule mandating vaccines or weekly COVID tests for all workers at businesses with more than 100 employees and the Governor’s likely Democratic challengers are split in their response to the suit.

Governor Ron DeSantis called the nearly 500 page OSHA regulation unconstitutional.

He said the state’s lawsuit is aimed at protecting Floridian’s right to work and combating federal overreach.

“The federal government can’t just unilaterally impose medical policy under the guise of workplace regulation and that is exactly what they’re trying to do,” said DeSantis.

Congressman and Democratic Gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Crist called the lawsuit a political move.

“He is only concerned about what is in the best interest of his political future and the Republican Party,” said Crist.

He said he not only believes the OSHA rule is constitutional, but that it’s the right thing to do.

“What is the President trying to achieve? He’s trying to save lives, okay? That’s a pretty admirable goal,” said Crist.

Somewhere in between Crist and DeSantis is Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried.

In a release, she said she doesn’t support mandates, but also criticized the Governor for calling on lawmakers to block businesses and local governments from implementing their own vaccine requirements.

Unclear is whether Republican lawmakers have the appetite to put businesses in a position where they’re stuck between a state vaccine mandate ban and the federal vaccine requirement.

The OSHA rule comes with the threat of $14,000 fines per violation.

We asked the Governor how he expects businesses to navigate a situation where state and federal policy conflicts on vaccine mandates.

“Well we are interested in using some of our resources to potentially provide a defense fund for some of these fines,” said DeSantis.

The OSHA rule will go into full effect on January 4th of 2022 and is expected to impact about 84 million American workers.

The lawsuit will head straight to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal in Atlanta, where the Governor said the state will ask the court to put the OSHA rule on pause as the case moves forward.