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Florida House votes in favor of replacing OSHA

The bill will now be sent to the Senate for a final vote.
Credit: AP
Florida State Rep. Michael Grant, the Majority Leader, gestures as a proposed amendment to a bill is voted down, during a special legislative session considering bills targeting COVID-19 vaccine mandates, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida lawmakers on Monday began debating a package of bills to combat coronavirus vaccine mandates, continuing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' fight against virus rules. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Lawmakers in Florida's House of Representatives voted in favor of moving forward with plans to remove the state from the federal OSHA program. 

If passed by the Senate this week, then Florida would be allowed to create a plan for occupational safety for all employees. 

As part of the plan, the governor's office would be given $1 million to propose its own version of OSHA, and have until Jan. 17, 2022, to present its plan. That requirement ruffled some feathers.

Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa) said the bill has no real accountability, and that the governor's office was being given a blank check.

"Here we are with a bill with no real guardrails, no real accountability," Driskell said. "We’re going to give the governor a million dollars, blank check."

Another point of contention for many democratic members in the House was that the governor's plans must ultimately receive federal approval. In order for Florida's new rules to be approved, they must first meet the standard OSHA guidelines. The whole process could take anywhere from two to five years.

According to OSHA, 28 states have their own OSHA-approved plans — 22 of which cover both private sector and state and local government workers. The last time OSHA certified a state's new rules was Connecticut in 1986. 

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