Today Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) held a press conference in St. Petersburg, Florida to discuss COVID-19 in Florida, and surprise everyone with signing a new bill into law and signing an executive order that would lift nearly all local and state COVID restrictions. The Governor was joined by Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-FL) and Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-FL). Senator Danny Burgess, and Rep. Nick Diceglie.
DeSantis started his press conference by saying that Florida needed " a new construct for these emergency powers that have been used throughout the country," adding that the pandemic, "would allow governors to seize power to lock kids out of school for a year, to lock businesses down, fining people."
"I certainly wouldn't have foreseen that would've been acceptable. Now in the state of Florida, we worked very hard, particularly since the Summer to jettison those types of policies and we focused on lifting people up," added Gov. DeSantis.
The governor listed his priorities such as keeping kids in school, supporting the economy, and vaccinating seniors and called it "the road less traveled" when comparing Florida to other states that have been under lockdown "for months and months on end."
DeSantis then gave praise to the legislature for their recent bill combating vaccine passports and preserving individual liberties, calling it "thoughtful" because it "reigns in the ability of local government to do this stuff [restrictions]," and because" it provides more check against the state, which I fully support."
The bill comes to the governor's executive desk as the vaccine rollout has been well underway and millions of Americans have already been vaccinated, which prompted the governor to call COVID-19 restrictions "Anti-science."
After signing the bill, DeSantis also filed an executive order "invalidating" all remaining local emergency COVID orders effective July 1 and would suspend all local COVID mandates in the interim, calling his decision "the responsible, evidence-based thing to do.
"Make no mistake about it, families are still dealing with COVID, family members still dying of COVID, but you have to ultimately weigh the balance of people’s lives and their mental health, and the amount of suicides, and all of the things that go wrong by locking are citizens down, and this governor has taken the lead right from the very beginning, and he has not hesitated to do the right thing," said Senate President Wilton Simpson.