House Speaker Chris Sprowls on Thursday said the 2021 Legislative Session may have been the most productive in the last 20 years, but he noted there is plenty left to be done.
Speaking at the Future of Florida Forum hosted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Sprowls said the work that needs to be accomplished will be done, in part, by the business community.
“In the weeks, months, and years to come we are going to need every one of you to go and do what you do, to innovate, to make Floridians’ lives better, whether that’s in the energy sector, whether it’s in the education sector, in the health care business,” Sprowls told the crowd Thursday afternoon. “And what our job to do in the Legislature is to allow you the freedom to do that.”
Sprowls’ remarks about freedom came on the heels of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s announcement Thursday that he filed a challenge to President Joe Biden‘s order requiring millions of executive branch employees and contractors who do business with the federal government to get vaccinated. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in the Middle District of Florida. The Florida Legislature is poised to meet in a Special Session to address vaccine mandates. Sprowls told Florida Politics Thursday that he expects DeSantis’s office will issue the Special Session proclamation for sometime in November.
Senate President Wilton Simpson told Florida Politics Wednesday he expected the details about the upcoming Special Session to be announced by Friday.
Sprowls’ didn’t touch on the Special Session in his remarks, which touted some of the legislative accomplishments from the 2021 Session, including limiting lawsuits against businesses for COVID-19 claims.
He did, however, wrap up his his comments by discussing the notion of “freedom,” the lynchpin in many discussions surrounding vaccine mandates.
Sprowls said the Legislature rolled out a program modeled after one at the Holocaust Museum in Washington called “Portraits of Patriotism.”
Sprowls said Florida school students between kindergarten and 12th grade are given an opportunity to interview people who escaped communist and other totalitarian regimes and immigrated to Florida. Students are given the opportunity, Sprowls said, to ask the survivors what it means to live in a free society.
“Those are questions that we grapple with every day in the Florida House. And I can tell you that we never lose sight of the fact that freedom isn’t just a word, it matters, and for many Floridians, it matters for their livelihoods and the future of those kids, their families,” Sprowls said. “And you play a significant part in the success of Florida and the success of our future.”