Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling attention to a potential threat current truckers could face if a federal vaccine mandate currently stayed temporarily goes into effect.
Speaking in Yulee Thursday spotlighting truck driving education, DeSantis said he was a “little bit surprised” and “disappointed” to see the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit‘s 8-8 vote to refer the case to a three-judge panel.
With the composition of that three-judge panel in doubt, DeSantis warned Thursday the current stay on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration vaccine mandate could be lifted, at least for a time.
The rule would affect major companies after the beginning of the new year, compelling companies with at least 100 employees to require full vaccination or weekly testing for those deemed not fully vaccinated.
DeSantis said the OSHA mandate, were there not a stay, would have “upended a lot of things,” including trucking.
“You talk to the Trucking Association, like 30% of the truckers, you know, ain’t going to do this. And they’re not going to pay to be tested every week out of their own pocket. And so you would absolutely lose some of the truckers at a very important time were that to go into effect,” DeSantis said.
“I think ultimately it will go down,” DeSantis said about the vaccine requirement. “But the decision yesterday to not hear it from the full Sixth Circuit, I was a little bit surprised to see that.”
The unpredictability of the three-judge panel concerned DeSantis.
“You could have in the intervening, a three judge panel maybe reinstate it or maybe rule for it. Once it goes to the full 6th Circuit, you know, I’m very, very confident it will go down. But that could happen. We’ll see,” DeSantis said.
“They should have just taken it as a full court, decided it on an expedited basis. And then we could have just moved on,” DeSantis said. “But they chose not to do that. They deadlocked 8-8 on whether the full court should hear it initially.”
DeSantis then acknowledged the three-judge panel is a customary preliminary to full court review, a contention made in the 6th Circuit order.
“And I know that’s typically not their practice, and maybe some judges felt that way. But you know, there’s a lot that could potentially be riding on this and if they were to reverse the stay or reverse the injunction, boy.”
Florida, of course, has laws against employer vaccine mandates. But not every state has that protection, raising serious questions about interstate commerce for the Governor.