Florida COVID ‘Passport’ Ban Added To Emergency Bill – CBS Miami

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami / NSF) – A House committee on Monday approved a proposal to restrict local emergency orders and pass Governor Ron DeSantis’s order to ban COVID-19 passports intended to show people have been vaccinated .

The Committee on Health and Human Services voted 14 to 8 for a revised proposal (HB 7047) aimed at “minimizing the negative effects of prolonged emergencies”.

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The main change on Monday was the addition of rules that would prevent government agencies from issuing COVID-19 passports and prevent Florida companies from requiring customers to provide documentation that they have been vaccinated or stay away from COVID-19 have recovered.

Bill sponsor Tom Leek, R-Ormond Beach, named government overreach of the passport system.

“If you, like me, accept the media reporting that our minority communities have the greatest amount of vaccination delay, and if you accept that minority communities are vaccinated to a much lesser extent than the majority population, then do this and allow this type of vaccination certificate, has different effects on these communities, ”said Leek.

Under the proposal, corporations, government agencies, and educational institutions that require individuals to provide proof of vaccination for entry or service could be fined up to $ 5,000 by the Department of Health.

Leek said each passenger would be treated as a separate incident if a cruise ship required passengers to provide proof of vaccination.

Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines CEO, told NBC News on Friday that the company expects to require proof of vaccination on international flights, while several major cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, have announced plans to travel fully vaccinated once they get back in May be put into operation.

MP Nicholas Duran, a Democrat from Miami who voted against the bill, called it “ironic” that the House allows members to bypass weekly COVID-19 tests at the Capitol once they have been vaccinated.

“I have a hard time understanding this House proposed concept that goes against what we are already doing in the House,” said Duran.

Duran also questioned the possible ban on requiring students to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination in schools if they have to meet various vaccination requirements for things like polio, chickenpox and measles.

“Yes, maybe 20 percent of Florida state deaths are people under the age of 64,” Duran said. “Still, there are a lot of people in all of these areas who are exposed. The idea that we’re just discounting it for me is a little insincere. “

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DeSantis issued the COVID-19 passport suspension order on April 2, which would create “big” privacy issues that could result in people sharing medical information with a “big company”.

“It is not entirely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to require you to provide evidence of vaccines to simply participate in ordinary society,” DeSantis said before signing the mandate. “If you want to go to the cinema, should you have to show that? No. If you want to go to a game, no. If you want to go to a theme park, no. … I think it’s something that people have certain freedoms and individual freedoms to make decisions for themselves. “

An analysis of the proposal by House staff found that countries have historically required evidence of vaccinations for international travel.

Some states and countries have further developed vaccination documentation plans for COVID-19. Israel, for example, has a “green passport” that releases vaccinated people from quarantine after contact with infected people or after travel and access to sports and cultural events.

In addition to excluding COVID-19 passports, the House bill would require that local emergency instructions be tightly tailored to reduce “violations of individual freedom” and extended in seven-day increments for a total of 42 days. At present, such orders can initially be placed for seven days and then extended in seven-day increments for an indefinite period of time.

Among other things, the surgeon general would need to develop a public health contingency plan and the emergency management department would need to store personal protective equipment.

The bill would also allow the governor, lieutenant governor, emergency director, surgeon-general, Senate President, and House Speaker to make public announcements in publicly declared states of emergency.

Last year, the Florida Ethics Committee turned down a motion by Charter Communications to change the state’s 16-year lobbying ban because the cable television and internet company wanted to publish public service announcements by DeSantis and other state officials about the COVID-19 Pandemic. Charter’s Spectrum networks reach approximately 2.5 million people in central Florida and the western panhandle.

State law prevents lobbyists and organizations that hire lobbyists from giving gifts to state officials – what is known in Tallahassee as a gift ban. Charter hires lobbyists to work on legislative and executive issues.

A proposal (SB 2006) that has reached the Senate would limit the ordering of local authorities to 10 days without the approval of a majority of local government agencies.

The proposal would also limit the governor to 60 day emergency missions and require the governor to provide specific reasons for closing schools or businesses.

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(© 2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. Do not publish, broadcast, rewrite, or redistribute this material. Jim Turner, Florida News Service contributed to this report.)

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