(Big League Politics) – On Wednesday The Florida House approved a measure that would limit local emergency orders and make Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order barring COVID-19 vaccine “passports” permanent.
The House voted 76-40 to approve Senate Bill 2006. According to Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee Chairman Tom Leek, R-Ormond Beach, this bill prepares Florida for future public-health emergencies while striking a “delicate balance between protecting people and protecting people’s civil liberties.”
“We have vaccines, through some miracle of science, that work. We also must recognize that COVID-19 vaccines don’t have the same proven history as the same vaccines we require our schoolchildren to get,” Leek said. “We must recognize that vaccine hesitancy is real and understandable. Don’t get me wrong. For all of you in this room, for all of you who are listening out there, get vaccinated. Please get vaccinated. Let’s return to normal. But recognize that it is fair for a certain segment of our community to be hesitant about getting the vaccine.”
Democrats in Florida have given very vocal opposition to the bill, arguing that it would delay Florida’s ability to return to normal. They argue that COVID-19 passports should be used to exclude those who are unvaccinated from society, through measures such as barring them from schools and businesses.
“I don’t know many people who are going to get on a cruise if they don’t have the security of knowing that the other people on that cruise with them, in that close environment with them, have also been vaccinated,” Rep. Omari Hardy, D-West Palm Beach, said.
Rep. Michael Grieco, D-Miami Beach expressed similar concerns to Hardy, saying “The irony is that this bill would grant rights to the people who have not been vaccinated, but it doesn’t protect me.”
This is of course an abjectly false statement. The proposed legislation protects the rights of all Americans, vaccinated or not.
Included in the bill is a prohibition on any kind of business, school, or government entity from requiring customers to show documentation that they have received a COVID-19 vaccination and/or are recovered from the disease.
Rep. Mike Beltran, R-Lithia, argued that those who are vaccinated should not be concerned about the medical status of others.
“If you took the vaccine, the vaccine works, and you go into the restaurant, you go into the bar, you go to the store, you go to the sporting event, and you go in there and someone else didn’t take the vaccine, why do you care?” Beltran asked. “And if the vaccine doesn’t work, in other words, you’re afraid you’re still gonna get it, even though you’ve been vaccinated, and you’re afraid you’re going to get really sick, then why are you trying to force other people to take a vaccine?”
The bill now heads to the state senate for concurrence.