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Florida fines Leon County $3.5 million for enforcing Covid-19 vaccine passports

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The county was in “blatant violation of the legislation,” the state Well being Division stated in an announcement, outlining a effective of $3,570,000 as a result of the Leon County authorities had required staff to offer documentation of their Covid-19 vaccination and in the end terminated 14 individuals for their refusal or failure to conform. The division famous “714 counts” in violation of the ban.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had cited freedom and privateness considerations as the first foundation for his vaccine passport ban in April, and later vowed to effective counties and cities within the state in violation of it. The fines underscore the Republican governor’s broad resistance to the general public well being measures and mandates that consultants say are key to curbing the pandemic and stopping future outbreaks.

“It’s unacceptable that Leon County violated Florida legislation, infringed on present and former staff’ medical privateness, and fired loyal public servants due to their private well being choices,” DeSantis stated in an announcement Tuesday. “We are going to proceed combating for Floridians’ rights and the Florida Division of Well being will proceed to implement the legislation. We’ll get up for Floridians’ jobs, get up for Floridians’ livelihoods, and get up for freedom.”

However Leon County Administrator Vincent Lengthy informed CNN in an announcement, “The County strongly contends that our worker vaccination requirement was not solely utterly legally justifiable, but it surely was a vital and accountable motion to take to maintain our staff protected, defend the general public, and guarantee our readiness as a frontline response group.”

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Lengthy stated that DeSantis’ place “sadly seems to be much less of a public well being technique and extra about political technique” and the county “absolutely intends to implement its rights utilizing any cures out there to settle all arguments concerning the applicability of the statute at concern.”

DeSantis’ dealing with of the pandemic has positioned him at odds with President Joe Biden, who has elevated vaccine mandates as an essential software within the US’ nationwide response.

“We’re going through a variety of pushback, particularly from a few of the Republican governors. The governors of Florida and Texas are doing all the things they’ll to undermine the lifesaving necessities that I’ve proposed,” Biden stated in a speech final month particularly calling out DeSantis and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas.

“That is the worst form of politics as a result of it is placing the lives of residents of their states, particularly kids, in danger. And I refuse to provide in to it,” the President stated on the time.

For DeSantis, his combat with the White Home — as is the case with the insurance policies he pushed opposing masks mandates and lockdowns — helps him with a slender however politically highly effective section of the Republican Social gathering, boosting his nationwide prominence forward of a 2022 reelection marketing campaign and a possible 2024 presidential bid.

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However Biden and his prime officers are eager to name out DeSantis’ continued flouting of medical suggestions within the combat in opposition to the virus, believing that making him an instance might encourage different governors to do extra.

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