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‘Give me a break’: DeSantis vows executive action against vaccine passports

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday railed against the idea of vaccine passports, pledging he would ban businesses from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry.

This comes after New Yorkers starting last Friday were first able to use such a passport to gain entry to certain events and venues.

RELATED: NY debuts COVID-19 Passport to prove vaccination

“You want the fox to guard the hen house? I mean, give me a break,” DeSantis said of allowing companies to have access to vaccination information, at a press briefing in Tallahassee, Florida. “I think this is something that has huge privacy implications, it is not necessary to do.”

“We’re going to have hit three and a half million seniors that have gotten shots sometime this week, likely 75% of seniors,” he continued. “It’s important to be able to do it, but at the same time we are not going to have you provide proof of this just to be able to live your life normally.”

MORE ON DESANTIS: DeSantis: ‘Florida got it right and the lockdown states got it wrong’

The governor added that he would issue an executive order banning businesses from requiring evidence of COVID-19 inoculation.

On top of his promised executive order, according to local NBC affiliate First Coast News, DeSantis wants the state legislature to take more permanent action against vaccine passports within the state.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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Economy

NY Lawmakers want to tax tech giants to get $500M to fund unemployment benefits for illegal migrants

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New York lawmakers are debating over a proposed Democratic initiative that would pave the way for a multibillion-dollar fund designed to provide unemployment benefits for illegal immigrants. Spearheaded by state Senator Jessica Ramos, a Queens Democrat, the proposal has ignited passionate discussions within the Senate Finance Committee, where it currently awaits further deliberation.

The Center Square reports the proposal would utilize a $500 million trust fund earmarked specifically to offer jobless benefits for individuals who find themselves ineligible for traditional unemployment payments and other public assistance programs. To finance this ambitious endeavor, proponents of the plan are advocating for the imposition of a novel tax targeting tech behemoths like Google and Amazon. This tax, aimed at digital advertising revenue, is projected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars to sustain the fund.

Ramos has alluded to her belief that migrants are a fundamental contribution to the state’s economy. Despite their authorization to work, payment of taxes, and active involvement in the labor force, undocumented immigrants face a glaring disparity—they are excluded from accessing vital safety nets like unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs.

In a social media post, Ramos cited the expiration of federal unemployment insurance for freelancers and the depletion of the Excluded Workers Fund. She argues vehemently for a safety net aligned with the evolving dynamics of the labor market, one that extends support to all workers, regardless of their immigration status.

The proposed fund, aptly named the Unemployment Bridge Program, outlines comprehensive eligibility criteria encompassing a spectrum of marginalized workers—from undocumented migrants to freelancers and individuals recently released from incarceration or immigrant detention. By establishing clear guidelines and procedures, the program endeavors to streamline the application process, ensuring equitable access to unemployment benefits for those in need.

The initiative comes in the wake of prolonged deliberations regarding jobless benefits for undocumented immigrants and nontraditional workers in New York. Amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state previously allocated $2.1 billion to the Excluded Workers Fund, offering a lifeline to those excluded from conventional unemployment benefits.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 underscores a commitment to supporting asylum seekers, with significant allocations directed towards housing and legal assistance. The proposal has met with opposition from Republicans, who argue for prioritizing legal residents and taxpayers in the allocation of state resources. Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt contends that limited resources should be reserved exclusively for those who have contributed to the state’s tax base.

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