Gov. DeSantis Proposes Bill to Protect 'COVID-19 Freedoms' in Florida

Susan Jones | January 19, 2023 | 8:16am EST
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FloridA Gov. Ron DeSantis proposes a permanent ban on "authoritarian policies surrounding COVID." (Photo: Screen capture)
FloridA Gov. Ron DeSantis proposes a permanent ban on "authoritarian policies surrounding COVID." (Photo: Screen capture)

(CNSNews.com) - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wants to make sure "COVID freedoms are upheld in Florida," and he is promising to "fight against local governments, businesses, and corporations that attempt to impose authoritarian policies surrounding COVID."

In a January 17 news release, DeSantis announced what he calls a "common-sense legislative proposal" that will "permanently protect Floridians from losing their jobs due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates" and protect parents' rights.

“When the world lost its mind, Florida was a refuge of sanity, serving strongly as freedom’s linchpin,” said DeSantis. “These measures will ensure Florida remains this way and will provide landmark protections for free speech for medical practitioners.”

The proposed legislation includes First Amendment rights guarantees for medical professionals, which means no one would lose their job or medical license for voicing their professional opinions in Florida. "The legislation will safeguard medical professionals from discrimination based on their personal religious views," DeSantis's office said.

“As a health sciences researcher and physician, I have personally witnessed accomplished scientists receive threats due to their unorthodox positions,” said State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “However, many of these positions have proven to be correct, as we’ve all seen over the past few years. All medical professionals should be encouraged to engage in scientific discourse without fearing for their livelihoods or their careers.”

The proposal includes the permanent prohibition of mandates that DeSantis says "are continuously proven ineffective," including:

-- Permanently prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine passports in Florida;

-- Permanently prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine and mask requirements in all Florida schools;

-- Permanently prohibiting COVID-19 masking requirements at businesses; and

-- Permanently prohibiting employers from hiring or firing based on mRNA jabs.

In a speech announcing his proposal, DeSantis noted that almost two years ago, Florida was one of the first states to ban COVID vaccine passports; vaccine mandates in the workplace; and mask requirements and shots for students.

"We believe that there's no turning back from our direction. We need to continue to lead -- applause -- and we need to lead with this by making all of these protections permanent in Florida statute, which we are going to do in the upcoming legislative session."

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