(CNN)Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday his plan to offer $5,000 bonuses to law enforcement officers who relocate to Florida for jobs has nothing to do with Covid-19 vaccine mandates roiling big-city police departments.
DeSantis says plan to offer $5,000 bonuses to out-of-state police relocating to Florida is not related to vaccine mandates
"It will be available to anyone who comes. If people are saying it's a vaccine issue, it's not. It has nothing to with that," DeSantis said Monday after an economic event in North Venice.
He added, however, he did not "think police officers should be fired for shots."
Low morale among law enforcement is at the heart of the proposed legislation, the governor said. He said Florida is a state which has openly "backed the blue" since the summer of 2020 when the nation saw protests that sometimes turned violent over racial injustice.
"We are 100% excited about saying anyone that's being mistreated, if the morale is low, if you can't take that environment -- and we have openings here -- you are going to get an environment where people are going to support you," he said.
DeSantis explained the state is looking to take advantage of what he views as missteps by other cities such as New York City and San Francisco.
"We are looking to capitalize off a lot of communities across our county who have turned their back on law enforcement, who aren't providing them the support," DeSantis.
Police unions from Seattle to Chicago to Baltimore have all resisted vaccine mandates or the required reporting of vaccine status. Some unionized firefighters and other city employees are also opposed to mandates.
DeSantis discussed his bonus proposal Sunday on Fox News "Sunday Morning Futures," saying he planned to sign the legislation during a special session of the legislature.
DeSantis announced last week he was calling the legislature back because he wanted to add more "protections" for Floridians from federal vaccine mandates.
"We're going to have a special session and we're going to say nobody should lose their job based off these injections. It's a choice you can make but we want to make sure we are protecting your jobs and your livelihood," DeSantis said.
DeSantis previously announced he and his administration will continue to fight the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) proposed new vaccine rule for large employers, an emergency standard announced by President Joe Biden last month.
DeSantis said Sunday he believes Biden's vaccine mandate is unconstitutional and will likely cause "huge disruptions in medical, in logistics, in law enforcement."
"These people we've been hailing as heroes, the nurses we've said have been heroes, this whole time, they've been working day in and day out," he said. "They couldn't do their job on Zoom. They had to be there and they did it, and they did it with honor and integrity. Now you have people that want to kick them out of their job over this shot, which is basically a personal decision."
DeSantis said he will continue to oppose mandates imposed by local governments in the state as well.