DeSantis signs bill banning vaccine and mask mandates

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and second-grader Fiona Lashells at the signing ceremony Nov. 18, 2021, for four bills curbing COVID-19 restrictions (Twitter video screenshot)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and second-grader Fiona Lashells at the signing ceremony Nov. 18, 2021, for four bills curbing COVID-19 restrictions (Twitter video screenshot)

After calling a special session of the legislature, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed four bills dubbed as a “freedom agenda” to curb COVID-19 policies and mandates.

“The big enchilada,” as DeSantis called it, was a measure that blocks public and private entities from mandating COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, it bars public entities from requiring masks.

“To say it should be mandated when you can still get it, this is a personal choice, so that’s what we’re doing, and that’s the science-based approach to say it should be a personal choice,” he said.

The bill, HB 1B, also grants the Department of Health — led by newly appointed Surgeon General Joe Ladapo — rule-making authority over COVID-19 protocols in schools, reported the news site Florida Politics.

A draft rule under consideration would allow schools to adopt requirements for students to wear masks if children are allowed to opt out.

Florida also has sued the Biden administration for its plan to use OSHA to implement its vaccine and testing mandate on businesses with 100 or more employees.

Responding to a reporter Thursday, DeSantis argued for the constitutional authority of individual states.

“The states are the primary vehicles to protect people’s freedoms – their health, their safety, their welfare – in our constitutional system,” he said. “What Biden is doing is not constitutional.”

He argued that there previously had never been a federal vaccine mandate imposed on the general public.

“They don’t have the power to do it. There’s no federal police power. States have the police power,” the governor said.

See the governor’s remarks:

At the signing ceremony, DeSantis featured a Florida second-grader who had been suspended for refusing to wear a mask at school. Fiona Lashells, 8, was suspended for 36 days and told she would have to repeat the second grade. But she’s now back in school, and with her story spreading nationally, she and fellow students are no longer being forced to wear a mask.

“She got things done; I’ll tell you what,” a smiling DeSantis said, pointing to the second grader as she stood on a stool behind the podium.

See DeSantis introduce Fiona Lashells:

DeSantis noted that the 500-page OSHA rule explicitly rejects the power of natural immunity through prior infection, “even though we have all this evidence.”

“So you wonder if that’s how they’re doing that, what else may they be doing based off junk science or ideology, and it was not a very impressive display from OSHA,” he said.

An Israeli study, amid evidence vaccine immunity lasts as little as two months, found natural immunity to be 26 times more effective. At least 128 studies affirm natural immunity acquired from a previous COVID infection.

Another Florida bill limits the state surgeon general’s emergency powers, eliminating the authority to mandate vaccinations “by any means necessary.”

Ladapo, who opposes mask mandates, lockdowns and vaccine mandates, said the new laws mean that Florida is going “back to the data.”

“There is no data that shows an improvement of health with these massive mandates for children. Zip, there’s nothing, and it should stop,” Ladapo said. “It’s completely divisive. It doesn’t help kids. It should end.”

Democrats opposed all four bills, including House Democratic Leader Bobby DuBose, who said it’s “a disgrace the governor chooses to call a symbol of technological and medical advancement ‘the jab’ to continue scaring people and confusing them about the effectiveness of the vaccine.”

“We need to continue listening to public health and medical experts to get over this pandemic and truly let Floridians prosper.”

DeSantis, in fact, has consulted with leading epidemiologists, including Drs. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford, Martin Kulldorf of Harvard and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, featuring them in public roundtables.

Destroying livelihoods
In Congress on Tuesday, the House Freedom Caucus informed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that its members will not vote to fund the federal government while the Biden administration maintains “unconstitutional” vaccine mandates on government and private sector employees, Breitbart News reported

The mandates will result in job losses and worker shortages, they warned, destroying livelihoods and threatening national security.

The caucus noted as an example that “thousands of men and women in uniform are thus far choosing not to meet the recent COVID-19 vaccination requirements imposed by” the Department of Defense.

Biden announced Sept. 9 vaccines mandates for executive branch employees, federal agencies, federal contractors and private employers with 100 or more employees. In August, the Pentagon announced that active duty and reserve members of the military would be required to be vaccinated.

But implementation of the private sector mandate was suspended by OSHA on Wednesday in response to an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Nearly one third of health-care workers in U.S. hospitals are still not vaccinated against COVID-19, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Forbes reported.

As many as 40% of U.S. airport security screeners haven’t been vaccinated for COVID-19 as the Nov. 22 immunization deadline for federal employees and the busy holiday travel season converge, reported Bloomberg News.

Hydrick Thomas, president of the American Federation of Government Employees’ division representing TSA officers, said that with Thanksgiving just three days later, the union chief said there could be staffing shortages if the agency takes a hard line on unvaccinated workers.

“They are not going to be ready for Christmas if they get rid of everybody who chooses not to get vaccinated,” Thomas said. “If they don’t accommodate employees during these holidays coming upon us, we are going to have an issue with the screening process.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Last year, America’s doctors, nurses and paramedics were celebrated as frontline heroes battling a fearsome new pandemic. Today, under Joe Biden, tens of thousands of these same heroes are denounced as rebels, conspiracy theorists, extremists and potential terrorists. Along with massive numbers of police, firemen, Border Patrol agents, Navy SEALs, pilots, air-traffic controllers, and countless other truly essential Americans, they’re all considered so dangerous as to merit termination, their professional and personal lives turned upside down due to their decision not to be injected with the experimental COVID vaccines. Biden’s tyrannical mandate threatens to cripple American society – from law enforcement to airlines to commercial supply chains to hospitals. It’s already happening. But the good news is that huge numbers of “yesterday’s heroes” are now fighting back – bravely and boldly. The whole epic showdown is laid out as never before in the sensational October issue of WND’s monthly Whistleblower magazine, titled “THE GREAT AMERICAN REBELLION: ‘We will not comply!’ COVID-19 power grab ignites bold new era of national defiance.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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