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Florida slaps county with $3.5 million in fines for violating ban on vaccine passports

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Unlike most government officials living on the taxpayer dole, Florida Gov. Ron Desantis so far has kept his word. The Florida panhandle county of Leon, which encompasses the capital city of Tallahassee, has been spanked with a $3.5M dollar fine after county officials decided to enforce their own vaccine mandate for 714 employees, then subsequently fired 14 employees who refused to get a vaccination shot.

The Florida Department of Health said Leon County has until November 5th to pay the $3.57 million dollar penalty.

The fines come on the heels of County Administrator Vince Long ordering all 714 of the county’s employees to provide proof of vaccination, or apply for exemptions as yet unspecified.

This is in defiance of Gov. DeSantis’ vow in September to levy fines on all cities and counties in the amount of $5,000 for each worker who is required to get a COVID vaccine. Leon County has now been fined $5,000 for each of the 714 workers.

Peter Rabbit would do well to stay out of Mr. McGregor’s garden.

DeSantis said that vaccine mandates violate state law, pointing to a bill he signed in April that forbids any such mandate, either for entry, access to, or service from any business, be it customer or employee. Nor is anyone required to provide any documentation whatsoever.

This is a scary prospect for the tyrannical Left, who just recently in September swung and missed on a hit piece aimed at the governor that ultimately helped him and hurt them.

Division Director Douglas Woodlief said that Leon County had 30 days to pay the $3.57 million in fines and on Tuesday, DeSantis denounced Leon County’s vaccine mandate, calling it “unacceptable.”

“It is unacceptable that Leon County violated Florida law, infringed on current and former employees’ medical privacy, and fired loyal public servants because of their personal health decisions,” DeSantis said in a statement.

“We will continue fighting for Floridians’ rights and the Florida Department of Health will continue to enforce the law. We’re going to stand up for Floridians’ jobs, stand up for Floridians’ livelihoods, and stand up for freedom,” he added.

Vince Long, however, stood in opposition of the governor and insisted the mandate he decreed was legal.

“The County strongly contends that our employee vaccination requirement was not only completely legally justifiable, but it was a necessary and responsible action to take to keep our employees safe, protect the public, and ensure our readiness as a frontline response organization,” Long told CNN in a statement.

Long added that DeSantis’ position “unfortunately appears to be less of a public health strategy and more about political strategy” and the county “fully intends to enforce its rights using any remedies available to settle all arguments about the applicability of the statute at issue.”

Long’s contention mirrors that of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, whose head has been lending out free space to Ron DeSantis and TX Gov. Greg Abbott- among many others in the GOP – since her boss clumsily took the reins of the country on January 20th.

She and the Biden regime have maintained the stance that conservatives like Ron DeSantis have been “putting politics over public health.”

Frank Webster

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