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Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday suspending local COVID-19 emergency orders in the state and banning “vaccine passports.”
Article by Art Moore from WND.
He also signed an executive order immediately lifting the local emergency orders to bridge the gap between now and when the bill takes effect on July 1.
DeSantis, a rising Republican star regarded as a possible 2024 presidential candidate, said the move is “the evidence-based thing to do.”
“I think folks that are saying that they need to be policing people at this point, if you’re saying that, you really are saying you don’t believe in the vaccines, you don’t believe in the data, you don’t believe in the science,” DeSantis said. “We’ve embraced the vaccines. We’ve embraced the science on it.”
The governor pointed out that the suspension affects only government-mandated orders. It won’t affect how businesses such as supermarkets or Disney theme parks enforce coronavirus restrictions.
“It’s simply emergency orders and emergency penalties on individual businesses,” he said.
He explained that the bill “ensures that neither the state or local governments can close businesses or keep kids out of in-personal instruction unless they satisfy a demanding and continuous justification.”
DeSantis previously issued an executive order banning “vaccine passports.”
“You have a right to participate in society, go to a restaurant, movie, a ballgame, all these things without having to divulge this type of information,” DeSantis said.
The bill, SB 2006, restricts any emergency orders to no longer than six weeks and grants the governor the authority to overrule cities that adopt restrictions determined to be too harsh or unnecessary. The legislation also gives city and county commissions the authority to overrule mayors.
The governor’s powers, in turn, are checked by the state legislature.
DeSantis said that measure would serve a a check on a future Democratic governor who might enforce rules opposed by a Republican legislature.
See the news conference:
‘Most epidemiologists don’t know the literature as well as he does’
Last week, amid criticism from Democrats and media for opening his state, DeSantis received praise from one of the prominent epidemiologists who have advised him.
Stanford medical professor Jayanta Bhattacharya said he was surprised by the governor’s knowledge, calling him “extraordinary” and unlike any other politician.
“I mean, most epidemiologists don’t know the literature as well as he does. I mean, I don’t have the words. … I’m still stunned by it. I didn’t know anything about him, actually, before September, really. I’ve just been very impressed,” Bhattacharya said.
He said DeSantis had read all of the papers he referenced and many more.
“He knew all of the details; it was a remarkable conversation,” Bhattacharya said. “And then, we had this, like, roundtable on Sept. 25 … with DeSantis leading it, and the next day, he lifted most of the restrictions all across Florida.”
In September, Bhattacharya was joined by epidemiologists Sunetrea Gupta of Oxford and Martin Kulldorff of Harvard in a roundtable that helped inform the governor’s COVID-19 policy.
The three published a petition in October called The Great Barrington Declaration, which has been signed by more than 14,000 medical and public health scientists, and more than 42,000 medical practitioners.
It states that as “infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.”
Focused protection means allowing the healthy to go about their business while focusing on protecting the vulnerable. In the panel discussion with DeSantis last September, they argued for the “age-targeted strategy,” contending lockdowns only make the pandemic worse.
DeSantis asked Kulldorf if locking down “society as a whole” actually could increase risk to the elderly population, noting the CDC indicates a survival rate of 99.997% for ages 0-19, 99.98% for 20-49, 99;95% for 50-69 and 94.6% for over 70.
Kulldorf said yes, contending that a total lockdown extends the time it takes to reach herd immunity.
“What helps the elderly is if the young take this very minimal risk and live normal life until there is herd immunity, and then when we have herd immunity, the older people can also live more normal lives,” he said.
‘Spiking the ball on the 10-yard line’
The signing of the bill and the executive order Monday drew criticism from some Florida mayors who thought the moves were premature, reported WPLG-TV in Miami.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said it “feels like he’s spiking the ball on the 10-yard line.”
“He’s been following political ideology more than science during this whole pandemic,” Gelber said.
Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago said he will “continue to encourage our residents and visitors to wear masks and follow social distancing and CDC guidelines.”
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman expressed his opposition on Twitter.
“Today, in preempting both local governments AND businesses from keeping their establishments safe, Ron DeSantis decided he cares not about public health, but power,” Kriseman said.
Your passport, please
The Biden administration has insisted it will not issue a government vaccine passport. However, it has been cooperating with corporations that have indicated they plan to require them, working on a way to standardize a vaccine ID process, the Washington Post reported in April.
The paper said the administration and private companies, “from cruise lines to sports teams,” could require the passports, which could amount to an app on a smartphone with a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass.
On Friday, Biden told NBC News’ Craig Melvin he has not ruled out requiring that all military personnel receive the vaccine.
Meanwhile, Washington state Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee announced new guidelines Thursday that give special treatment to fully vaccinated people related to sporting events, performing arts and cruises.
In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday she will ease coronavirus restrictions when enough residents receive the vaccine, tying personal freedom to vaccine benchmarks.
‘A bunch of horse manure’
Last week, DeSantis, in an effort to “protect our girls,” said he plans to sign legislation passed Wednesday that would ban men who identify as women from competing in girls’ and women’s scholastic sports.
During a Fox News townhall on Thursday, moderator Laura Ingraham asked DeSantis if he believed the United States is a systemically racist country.
“Well, it’s a bunch of horse manure. I mean, give me a break,” he said.
“This country has had more opportunity for more people than any country in the history of the world and it doesn’t matter where you trace your ancestry from.”
Earlier last week, former President Donald Trump said that if he runs in 2024 he “certainly” would consider DeSantis as his running mate.
“He is a friend of mine. Certainly, Ron would be considered,” Trump said. “I endorsed Ron, and after I endorsed him, he took off like a rocket ship. He’s done a great job as governor. They like that. I’m just saying what I read and you read. They love that ticket.”
In February in Orlando, in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, DeSantis touted the fact that he had kept Florida open for business, enabling CPAC to hold its annual event in-person.
“We are an oasis of freedom in a nation that’s suffering in many parts of the country from the yoke of oppressive lockdowns,” he said. “We look around our country and in far too many places we see schools closed, businesses shuttered and lives destroyed.”
DeSantis also emphasized his state’s leadership in election integrity, combating Big Tech censorship and carving a new path for the party that leaves behind the “failed Republican establishment of yesteryear.”
‘The Purge’ by Big Tech targets conservatives, including us
Just when we thought the Covid-19 lockdowns were ending and our ability to stay afloat was improving, censorship reared its ugly head.
For the last few months, NOQ Report, Conservative Playbook, and the American Conservative Movement have appealed to our readers for assistance in staying afloat through Covid-19 lockdowns. The downturn in the economy has limited our ability to generate proper ad revenue just as our traffic was skyrocketing. We had our first sustained stretch of three months with over a million visitors in November, December, and January, but February saw a dip.
It wasn’t just the shortened month. We expected that. We also expected the continuation of dropping traffic from “woke” Big Tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but it has actually been much worse than anticipated. Our Twitter account was banned. Both of our YouTube accounts were banned. Facebook “fact-checks” everything we post. Spotify canceled us. Medium canceled us. Apple canceled us. Why? Because we believe in the truth prevailing, and that means we will continue to discuss “taboo” topics.
The 2020 presidential election was stolen. You can’t say that on Big Tech platforms without risking cancellation, but we’d rather get cancelled for telling the truth rather than staying around to repeat mainstream media’s lies. They have been covering it up since before the election and they’ve convinced the vast majority of conservative news outlets that they will be harmed if they continue to discuss voter fraud. We refuse to back down. The truth is the truth.
The lies associated with Covid-19 are only slightly more prevalent than the suppression of valid scientific information that runs counter to the prescribed narrative. We should be allowed to ask questions about the vaccines, for example, as there is ample evidence for concern. One does not have to be an “anti-vaxxer” in order to want answers about vaccines that are still considered experimental and that have a track record in a short period of time of having side-effects, including death. One of our stories about the Johnson & Johnson “vaccine” causing blood clots was “fact-checked” and removed one day before the government hit the brakes on it. These questions and news items are not allowed on Big Tech which is just another reason we are getting canceled.
There are more topics that they refuse to allow. In turn, we refuse to stop discussing them. This is why we desperately need your help. The best way NOQ, CP, and ACM readers can help is to donate. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well. We are on track to be short by about $4100 per month in order to maintain operations.
The second way to help is to become a partner. We’ve strongly considered seeking angel investors in the past but because we were paying the bills, it didn’t seem necessary. Now, we’re struggling to pay the bills. We had 5,657,724 sessions on our website from November, 2020, through February, 2021. Our intention is to elevate that to higher levels this year by focusing on a strategy that relies on free speech rather than being beholden to progressive Big Tech companies.
During that four-month stretch, Twitter and Facebook accounted for about 20% of our traffic. We are actively working on operating as if that traffic is zero, replacing it with platforms that operate more freely such as Gab, Parler, and others. While we were never as dependent on Big Tech as most conservative sites, we’d like to be completely free from them. That doesn’t mean we will block them, but we refuse to be beholden to companies that absolutely despise us simply because of our political ideology.
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