Leon legislators on DOH fine: ‘Governor has gone too far’
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The three state lawmakers who represent Leon County are criticizing the Department of Health’s fine for the county’s requirement that its employees get the COVID vaccine.
“We can only move past this pandemic by ensuring everyone eligible is vaccinated to keep Floridians safe,” said Representative Ramon Alexander. “This is an overreach of state government and the Governor has gone too far.”
The state Tuesday imposed a $3.57 million penalty, due within 30 days. That’s $5,000 for each of the county’s 700+ employees who were required to show proof of vaccination, seek a medical or religious exemption, or be terminated.
“Leon County Government should not be penalized for an effective way to respond in the best interest of our citizens and workforce,” Rep. Alexander went on to say.
State Representative Allison Tant and State Senator Loranne Ausley shared Alexander’s disapproval.
“While cases in Leon have started to decrease, the pandemic is not over and it is important that our Florida counties have the authority to protect their citizens as they see fit,” wrote Tant.
Tant predicted the issue will go to the courts and the courts will side with Leon County. Administrator Vince Long has also said the county believes its mandate stands on firm legal ground.
Senator Ausley went directly at Governor Ron DeSantis, who brought up the threat of fines against local governments a month ago.
“…the Governor is spending his time punishing counties working to keep their citizens safe. Unbelievable!” Sen. Ausley said. “We don’t need the State bullying our communities or private businesses who are simply trying to serve the people and get on the other side of this pandemic.”
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