Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is proposing legislation to permanently ban Covid-19 health measures intended to mitigate the virus in the state.
The legislation would ban vaccine and mask requirements in schools, mask requirements in businesses, and so-called vaccine passports showing proof of vaccination. It would also prohibit employers from hiring or firing employees based on whether they have been vaccinated, and prohibit the firing or revocation of the license of medical professionals who are not in accordance with Covid protocols.
«When the world lost its mind, Florida was a haven of sanity, serving strongly as the lynchpin of freedom,» DeSantis said in a press release. “These measures will ensure Florida stays that way and provide historic protections for free speech for doctors.”
DeSantis has been an outspoken opponent of pandemic health measures, despite his initial support for vaccines in 2021, which he once called life jacket.
The Florida governor, who is considering challenging former President Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican primary, showed last month that he is positioning himself to the right of Trump on the issue of covid vaccines.
During a roundtable discussion of Covid vaccine skeptics and opponents, including his own surgeon general, DeSantis formally asked the state Supreme Court to form a grand jury to investigate whether drug companies criminally misled Floridians about the side effects of vaccines. The measure, which is at odds with the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionit was also widely criticized among figures in Trump’s orbit.
Florida Supreme Court passed DeSantis’ application late last month.
DeSantis first drew Trump’s ire last year when he refused to say whether he received a Covid booster shot. The former president, whose Operation Warp Speed accelerated vaccine development amid the pandemic, appeared to criticize politicians like DeSantis, who refused to say whether they received a booster shot, calling them «cowards.»
In 2021, DeSantis signed legislation which imposed fines on employers who required covid-19 vaccines and prohibited vaccine mandates from government entities and educational institutions. He also signed an executive order that restricted the use of vaccine passports.