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Keith Perry files bills to block mask mandates and vaccine requirements, but DeSantis announces special session

Florida State Sen. Keith Perry. Image: The Florida Channel
Florida State Sen. Keith Perry. Image: The Florida Channel

Republican State Sen. Keith Perry, whose district includes Ocala, filed two bills Thursday to block mask mandates and vaccine requirements.

But those are likely to be superseded by a special session in November.

Perry's office was filing his two bills -- Senate bills 592 and 594 -- at about the same time Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Clearwater announcing plans for the special session.

DeSantis wants a new law to block government mandates and prevent workers from being fired for failing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a disease that has killed 58,000 people in Florida over the past year and a half.

He also plans to "fortify" parental rights against mask mandates.

He says this can't wait for the regular session. Perry tends to agree.

"People are losing their jobs and their livelihood today based on a forced medical procedure," he said.

Senate Democrats denounced the special session as "a clear attack on Florida businesses and local leaders who have taken steps to protect Floridians."

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.