COVID vaccine mandates have become a huge talking point in the country; there seems to be one issue or the other regarding this topic. Joe Biden announced the vaccine mandate for federal workers and companies with at least 100 staffers.
He said any unvaccinated person that falls under this workforce risks dismissal from employment. Upon announcing this, there was an uproar, as it affects close to 100 million Americans.
Since then, some Americans have been fighting this with protests, as they believe they should not be forced to take the vaccine.
Last month, the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, stood against the vaccine mandate by saying the state would fine any local government requiring employees to get vaccinated.
However, Leon County defied the governor by firing 14 employees who refused to take the vaccine. In response, the Florida Health Department has slammed the county with a $3.5 million fine.
No one should lose their job because of COVID shots.@HealthyFla fined Leon County more than $3.5 million for violating Florida law after the county fired 14 employees for not complying with the county’s forced vaccination policy.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 12, 2021
Republican Governors Fighting Back
When Ron DeSantis announced the state would be fining local governments that impose vaccine mandates for employees, he said he was doing it to stand for freedom. DeSantis noted his position on the vaccine has always been “available for all, but mandatory for none.”
The Florida governor said he based his comments on legislation he signed in May, SB 2006. The legislation bans local governments and businesses in Florida from demanding people to prove they have recovered from COVID or prove they have been vaccinated.
DeSantis said government agencies in Florida that uphold the vaccine mandate as a condition for employment would face a $5,000 fine for each violation.
The Governor of Texas, Gregg Abbott, also signed an executive order this month, prohibiting any entity in the state from enforcing vaccine mandates. The executive order says no business in Texas can require vaccination proof from employees or consumers who do not want to take the vaccine for personal, religious, or medical reasons.
Issuing an Executive Order prohibiting vaccine mandates by any entity.
This issue has also been added to the Third Special Session agenda.https://t.co/gKRf4n84Dh #txlege
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) October 11, 2021
Abbott was also quick to add the vaccine is effective, safe, and the best defense against the virus. Violators of the executive order will face the maximum fine possible under the Texas Government Code.
Outrage Over the Fine
Vincent Long, the administrator of Leon County, was not happy about the fine. He said the county’s vaccine mandate is both legally justifiable and necessary. He noted the county would be challenging the fine by using available remedies.
Long also accused Ron DeSantis of caring less about public health. He claimed the governor’s stance on the vaccine is purely political. He finally added the county is focused on fighting the virus, protecting its citizens and employees, and fulfilling its duties to the community.
Democrat Rep. Ramon Alexander expressed his displeasure over the fine. He described it as an overreach of the state government. Democrat Sen. Loranne Ausley was equally dissatisfied. She said the state should not be bullying communities or businesses that are only trying to scale through the pandemic.
What are your thoughts on the fine issued against Leon County? Was it necessary or too much? Your thoughts on this will mean a great deal.