Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday issued an executive order banning the use of COVID-19 “vaccine passports,” which allow people to present evidence of their vaccination.
“Today I issued an executive order prohibiting the use of so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports,” DeSantis tweeted Friday afternoon. “The Legislature is working on making permanent these protections for Floridians and I look forward to signing them into law soon.”
The order prohibits state government entities from issuing “vaccine passports, vaccine passes, or other standardized documentation for the purpose of certifying an individual’s COVID-19 vaccine status to a third party”.
It also bans businesses in the state from “requiring patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery” to enter or receive services from the place of business. However, businesses are still allowed to institute COVID-19 screening protocols.
The governor’s order, which comes a week after vowing to issue it, argued that mandating vaccination credentials “would create two classes of citizens based on vaccination.”
This move from DeSantis comes as the emerging concept of vaccine passports has irked many Republicans, with many citing privacy and civil liberties concerns in their opposition to it. Advocates for such passports say that it will speed up the reopening of the U.S. economy since more than 100 million Americans—about 30% of the population—have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to CDC data.
Last Friday, New York State launched its Excelsior Pass, which is available on a mobile app in the form a QR code that can be scanned to show evidence of vaccination.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.
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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal
In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.
Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.
Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.
Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.
Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.
Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.
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