Leon County, located in the panhandle of Florida, has been fined $3.57 million for imposing a vaccine mandate on local government employees in violation of the state’s ban on vaccine passports.
Under Florida law, any business entity – including the local government – that requires proof of a COVID vaccine is subject to a $5,000 fine per infraction.
Forbes says that Leon County is home to 714 workers.
“It is unacceptable that Leon County violated Florida law, infringed on current and former employees’ medical privacy, and fired loyal public servants because of their personal health decisions,” DeSantis said in a statement.
The state of Florida issued fines totaling over $3.5M for Leon County, which terminated 14 employees who did not comply with the county’s unlawful vaccine mandate. https://t.co/zWsdz1F60d
— Christina Pushaw (@ChristinaPushaw) October 12, 2021
RELATED: DeSantis Says No To COVID Lockdowns: We Should Not Be Forced To Live In A ‘Faucian Dystopia’
Leon County Penalty for Violation of Ban on Vaccine Passports
Vincent Long, Leon County Administrator, was furious and sent Axios an email claiming the ban on vaccination passports does not follow science.
“The Governor’s position in this instance, unfortunately, appears to be less of a public health strategy and more about political strategy,” Long said.
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He added that “Leon County fully intends to enforce its rights … so that we can continue to direct our full and undivided attention on combating the virus.”
He does not mention individual employee rights.
Because 14 of the employees had not complied with the mandate, the county fired them all.
— Forrest Saunders (@FBSaunders) October 12, 2021
RELATED : Gov. DeSantis Fires Back After Jen Psaki Attacks Florida’s Handling Of The Pandemic
30-days to pay the Fine
Forbes reported that Leon County has now 30 days to pay the penalty
“We will continue fighting for Floridians’ rights and the Florida Department of Health will continue to enforce the law,” DeSantis vowed in his statement.
It is a pleasure to read your words. @GovRonDeSantisLeon County residents to have access to medical care. It’s sad our government decided to waste taxpayer dollars on something that serves no purpose for the county https://t.co/WMWRxHHQcR
— Evan Power (@EvanPower) October 12, 2021
DeSantis affirmed his opposition to mandates during a speech to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual meeting in Utah this past summer.
“I think it’s very important that we say unequivocally no to lockdowns, no to school closures, no to restrictions, and no to mandates,” he insisted.
DeSantis added that no American, regardless of which state they reside in, should be “consigned to live in a Faucian dystopia in which we’re governed by the whims of bureaucratic authorities who care little for our freedom, little for our aspirations and little for our happiness.”
“We say no to lockdowns, no to school closures, no to restrictions, and no mandates.
[We] should not be consigned to live…in a Faucian dystopia.” pic.twitter.com/7dqrzeDchm
— Evan Donovan (@EvanDonovan) July 29, 2021
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki accused Governor DeSantis of being “out of step” with a history of vaccine mandates in this country as well as the view of business leaders in his state.
Psaki claims DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott are engaged in “a familiar pattern that we’ve seen of putting politics ahead of public health” by stepping up against forced vaccination.
“Why would you be taking steps that prevent the saving of lives, that make it more difficult to save lives across the country or in any state?” she asked.
Press Sec Jen Psaki takes a shot at TX Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, saying bans on vaccine mandates “fit a familiar pattern” of “putting politics ahead of public health.” pic.twitter.com/8ZYCdVdXG6
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 12, 2021
“We’re going to make sure people are able to make their own choices,” DeSantis declared at a press conference. “We’re not going to discriminate against people based on those choices and you’re going to have a right to operate in society.”
Forbes reports that Leon County may be the first to receive punishment for violating Florida’s ban on vaccine passports but more than 100 entities are currently “under review.”
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