Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wants to stake his claim to be the leader of the libertarian anti-vaxxers. He has banned any mandates by schools or businesses to require masking or getting vaccinated. The legislature went along with him, on a temporary basis, but now he wants the legislators to mandate non-compliance with CDC public health protocols. (Because he opposes mandates!). In short, he is mandating that no one can require a mandate to wear a mask or get vaccinated.

Is he stupid, clever, craven, cunning or what? If nothing else, he’s getting attention.

The Miami Herald reports:

Despite facing pushback from medical professionals and businesses, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced legislation Tuesday that would make permanent a law to penalize companies that require employees to wear masks or be vaccinated for COVID-19 and added a new ban on medical boards reprimanding doctors for spreading COVID misinformation.

“This is just nuts that we’re still doing this,’’ DeSantis said to cheering supporters in Panama City Beach. “We need to be leading on this by making all of these protections permanent in Florida statute as we need to do in the upcoming legislative session.”

The proposal will attempt to make permanent a series of laws passed by legislators in November 2021 after DeSantis called a special session aimed at restricting Florida businesses that were following a federal law requiring mask mandates or requiring employees to be vaccinated. If approved by Florida legislators, the measure would continue to prohibit COVID-19 vaccine and mask requirements in schools and government, and prohibit COVID-19 vaccine requirements for employment or travel.

Those laws are set to expire in June. DeSantis wants them re-enacted and made tougher to be sure that no one feels compelled to wear a mask or get vaccinated.

This year, DeSantis wants to expand the sanctions on businesses by prohibiting employers from hiring or firing based on vaccine status or wearing a mask, and he wants to revive a failed proposal from last year’s legislative session that would make it more difficult for a medical licensing board to reprimand or sanction a doctor for views expressed by the medical professional — including on social media.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo also spoke at the news conference Tuesday and repeated his claim that masks are not effective in preventing the spread of the virus and dismissed the effectiveness of vaccines. “This is the first time in history where we are using this technology widely in human beings,’’ he said, referring to the mRNA vaccines.

“You’re telling people to put it in children, and you’ve never even shown the children to gain from it in terms of an actual help. That’s the land of crazy. Florida is the land of sanity.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website lists several studies that have shown masking to be helpful in curbing the spread of the virus. In January 2022, a CDC report found vaccinated Americans were far less likely both to contract the virus and die from it.

LEADING HOUSE DEMOCRAT RESPONDS

House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell of Tampa called the governor and his administration “the No. 1 peddler of misinformation from the anti-vax establishment.”

“It is a fake ideology with real consequences,’’ she said, noting that less than one-third of Florida’s nursing home residents, the most vulnerable age group, are up to date on their vaccines, even though the state Department of Health recommends it.

Driskell emphasized that “no one ever promised total immunity, but those vaccines do lessen the chance of infection and they increase the likelihood of a milder case if you do get sick.” She accused the governor of “rewriting history” after promoting the vaccines when they were first available.

Since former President Donald Trump lost his reelection bid, DeSantis sought to become the face of the opposition to the Biden administration’s COVID policies which the governor said were overreaching. He called lawmakers into special session in November 2021 to punish companies that followed the federal law.

DeSantis wanted the legislature to punish businesses that required their employees to get vaccinated, but more than 100 corporations objected to the state’s interference in their operations, and the legislature did not adopt DeSantis’ most punitive measures. However, after his sweeping re-election, the legislature is likely to give him what he wants…

“The Free State of Florida did not happen by accident,” DeSantis said at the news conference Tuesday in which he took no questions. “It required us over these last few years to stand against major institutions in our society — the bureaucracy, the medical establishment, legacy media and even the President of the United States — who together were working to impose a bio medical security state on society.”

Read more at: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article271286472.html#storylink=cpy