Vaccine power to be stripped from Surgeon General

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 4:40 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) - Florida lawmakers are moving quickly to ban vaccine and mask mandates for employees and students.

They are expected to wrap up their five-day session in just three and some of the most heated debate is over a 20-year-old law that has never been used.

Following the attacks on the twin towers, Florida lawmakers meet in a special session like the one this week and approved a bill giving the Surgeon General the power to force people to be vaccinated.

State Senator Aaron Bean is leading the charge to to repeal the vaccine authority.

He painted a graphic picture of what the future could look like if it remains on the books.

“That picture will be there down the road somewhere in Florida of somebody being held down against their will and having a vaccine or whatever it is injected into their person,” said Bean.

Opponents argued that even though the power has never been used, it may be needed in the future.

“The idea is to protect the public,” said State Senator Audrey Gibson.

Activists testified the law didn’t go far enough.

“It’s still in other places,” said Boca Raton resident Nikki Celso.

Senator Jason Pizzo recounted George Washington once ordered his troops vaccinated, but the history lesson didn’t sway anyone.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill on party lines.

Senator Darryl Rouson voted no.

“He should, or she, should have all the tools available to curtain a public health emergency in their toolbox,” said Rouson.

Senator Jeff Brandes voted yes, but he argued as long as the word ‘treatment’ is still in the law, the bill is useless.

“It does only that it takes out the word vaccine, but it doesn’t actually prevent them from forcing a treatment upon somebody,” said Brandes.

Because the Surgeon General reports directly to the Governor, some lawmakers believe that’s enough control over what treatments may or may not be ordered.

A final vote is expected Wednesday, and since the bill was part of the Governors call, there is little doubt he will sign it.

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