The Florida Department of Health and Human Services issued its first fine to the county this week for violating a vaccine ban.
Leon County, which includes the capital, Tallahassee, was fined $ 3.5 million for demanding vaccinations and subsequently firing 14 employees, accusing Governor Ron DeSantis of being politically motivated.
“Unfortunately, the governor’s position is less about health strategy and more about political strategy,” said Leon County Governor Vincent Long.
“No one should lose their job because of COVID’s blows,” DeSantis said Tuesday while announcing the fine on Twitter. “We need to protect the work of Floridians and maintain the ability of Floridians to decide for themselves how to photograph.”
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The state said the county violated Florida’s “vaccine sports” law, which prohibits businesses and governments from requiring people to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“These people have probably served all their lives and now they’re suddenly going down the aisle,” DeSantis said at a news conference about the laid-off employees.
The law could result in $ 5,000 for each violation.
“Leon County violated Florida law, intruded on the privacy of current and former employees, and fired loyal civil servants because of their personal health decisions,” said DeSantis spokeswoman Tarin Fenske. Democratic Tallahassee. “Governor DeSantis will continue to fight for the rights of Florida residents, and Florida’s health care system will continue to enforce the law.”
President Biden last month announced a federal vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees, which has not yet entered into force, and the Florida law is being challenged in court.
“We don’t need a threat to our communities or private businesses trying to serve people and move on to the other side of the disease,” said Democratic State Sen. Laurent Ausley.
The state is reportedly investigating dozens of local governments and businesses for violations of the law Orlando Sentinel.