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The California Recall Shows It’s Fine to Not Vote For Candidates You Don’t Support –

Had this week’s California recall election succeeded, millions of Democrats would have inadvertently helped to get Republican radio host Larry Elder elected governor. How? By choosing to reject alternatives to Gov. Gavin Newsom. There’s a lesson here in how Democrats and Republicans treat third-party voters and others who reject the options the two big parties feed them.

The recall failed, and it failed badly. The vote totals are still incomplete, but with about 75 percent of the ballots tallied, 3.3 million Californians voted to recall Newsom and 5.8 million voted to keep him.

But that was just the first question on the ballot. All the voters, regardless of how they voted on the first question, had the opportunity to choose one of the 46 candidates running to replace Newsom. Those votes don’t really matter now, since the recall failed. But obviously, each individual voter would have no way of knowing the recall would fail until after the election.

So far, the state has counted 9.2 million ballots. Only 5.1 million of those voters chose a candidate to replace Newsom. A full 4 million voters ignored the second question—which, to be clear, was something the Democratic establishment was encouraging them to do.

Elder got by far the most votes among the replacement candidates, with 2.3 million. In second place was Kevin Paffrath, a real estate YouTuber running as a Democrat. He received a mere 500,000 votes.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume all the voters who ignored the second question were Newsom supporters and Democrats. (In reality, there no doubt were a number of people who voted for the recall but declined to choose a successor and a number of Republicans who rejected the recall.) If all those people had voted for Paffrath, he would have beaten Elder. But if the recall had succeeded with the current replacement votes, the governor’s office would have changed parties, because those Newsom backers didn’t vote on the second question. Millions of Democrats essentially threw their second votes away, something both the major parties often accuse third-party voters of doing.

This is a thought exercise, and admittedly, a bit of a stretch. In order for the recall to have succeeded, millions of those very same people would had to have voted for the recall, meaning they no longer supported Newsom. And presumably, had they done so, they probably would have selected a replacement. There were several Democrats on the ballot, though the state Democratic Party declined to support or endorse any of them, and no major names within the party ran.

The people who declined to choose a successor didn’t know for sure that the recall would fail. But they knew that they didn’t want anybody else. So rather than choosing the most palatable of the 46 alternatives, they opted out. They rejected the choice.

Were they wrong to do so? Absolutely not. Yes, there was a chance that it would have backfired in their faces. But there’s no moral problem with looking at the choices in front of you and deciding to reject them all, or to go with some “fringe” choice that best represents your positions. These voters decided that Newsom was their man, and they weren’t going to settle for some random Democrats even if that meant that Elder might become governor.

Good for them. Well, not for supporting Newsom: He’s a terrible governor. But he’s the terrible governor that they want.

You might think that, having had the experience of deciding that the most morally correct response to the recall was to refuse to vote for a replacement, Democrats would learn that people who vote for third-party candidates or don’t vote at all might have good reasons to do so. Rather than blaming them for, say, Hillary Clinton’s presidential defeat, they might ask how the party ends up with such unappealing candidates that they have to beg, plead, and ultimately shame people into voting for them.

Instead, the Democratic establishment has concluded that democracy itself is to blame. The big argument right now is that recalls are too easy and the rules need to change. In fact, petitions circulate virtually every year to try to recall California governors and other state politicians. Very few of them ever make it to the vote.

Meanwhile, California already has mechanisms in place to deprive voters of candidate choices. The state’s top-two run-off system leaves many folks stuck with two candidates from the same political party in November, with third-party candidates shoved out months earlier.

Newsom’s recall arguably happened not because there was too much democracy but because there wasn’t enough. Too many people felt they had no say in the lockdowns or in Newsom’s authoritarian emergency orders. That the recall ever gained any traction at all reflected resistance to harmful policies that, despite what Newsom might claim, were not “following the science” about preventing the spread of COVID-19. Other states’ lawmakers have pushed back when governors abuse their emergency powers in a pandemic. But not in California, leaving citizens without a lot of recourse.

This is also why ballot initiatives have become such a big deal in California. Democratic leaders in this one-party state habitually pass laws that serve the needs of entrenched interests, leaving direct democracy as the citizens’ line of defense. We saw that with A.B. 5, the terrible law that absolutely demolishes Californians’ right to work as freelancers. It took a ballot initiative to weaken it, and the unions are still fighting it (and unfortunately winning). Sometimes ballot initiatives are the only way to bypass an unresponsive state government.

California is in not in danger of having too much democracy. Citizens should slap down (metaphorically) any attempt by the Democratic Party to undermine the state’s recall systems, which progressives put in place to give citizens the ability to respond when politicians are so beholden to special interests that voters are just ignored.

Above all, the number of people who ignored the second question on their recall ballots should remind Democrats that not voting can be a moral rejection of bad choices. Neither Democrats nor Republicans are entitled to voter support just because they’ve managed to create a political environment where they’re only the options voters are given. That’s anti-democratic.

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DeSantis will fine any county or city requiring employees to be vaccinated

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Monday that any county or city in the state that seeks to require employees to receive the Covid-19 vaccine will be fined.

Following Joe Biden’s unconstitutional push to force private businesses into requiring employees be vaccinated, DeSantis pushed back against the mandates.

With a penalty of $5,000 per person, the Republican governor hopes to deter governmental institutions from mandating the jab.

“We are gonna stand for the men and women who are serving us. We are gonna protect Florida jobs,” DeSantis said while speaking in Alachua County, according to WPTV. “We are not gonna let people be fired because of a vaccine mandate.”

A person’s decision to get vaccinated against Covid-19, which the Florida governor referred to as “a personal choice on their individual health,” should not be cause to be fired from a job, he said.

DeSantis essentially noted that S.B. 2006, which bans private businesses from requiring the vaccine, also applies to governmental entities to protect against a mandate.

Florida is not the only state to push back against Biden’s vaccine mandate though, as 27 states, the Center Square reported, have already vowed to fight the unprecedented mandate.

Also pushing back on Biden was Gov. Doug Ducey, R- Ariz., who called the vaccine mandate “outrageous.”

“Governors don’t report to Joe Biden. Governors don’t report to the federal government, the states created the federal government, and Joe Biden has stepped out of his reach,” Ducey said. “These mandates are outrageous. They will never stand up in court. We must and will push back.”

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Joy Reid Responds to Nicki Minaj, Says It Was Fine Being Anti-Vax Under Trump

In perhaps the largest Twitter dumpster fire of all time, MSNBC’s The ReidOut host Joy Reid and rapper Nicki Minaj have been trading barbs over the coronavirus vaccine and who’s a betrayal to their race. On Tuesday’s show, Reid responded to Minaj with an angry, bitter screed that denounced white conservatives as the real anti-vaxxers holding America back and defended her anti-vaccine tweets from 2020 as legitimate and sensible given who was president and how, after the election, she saw the light.

Reid milked the story by holding it off until the last two segments of the show, joking at the top of the show that “it’s all quiet out there in Twitterworld” and “nothing” has “happen[ed]” in her world before saying she’ll “have more to say” about the “wee bit of Twitter excitement.”



Two teases later, Reid finally got to the point. After recapping what Minaj said on Twitter with her baseless claim about the Covid vaccine, Reid said “she used her social media platform and her 22 million Twitter followers to cast doubt on the vaccine to a heavily black audience” and that, along with her comments, “went viral.”

Reid correctly noted that “every moment is a teachable moment and this might be one that illustrates on Twitter in public how hard it is for us to talk to each other.” 

Instead of showing further sobriety, Reid went back to her vengeful self by lamenting that there’s “a lot of frustration and anger” among the vaccinated that others haven’t gotten the shot, so the former has had to resort to removing the latter “from our lives.”

Instead of talking about Minaj’s unfounded claims, she made it all about three of her least-favorite people (including Tucker Carlson) and the entire right writ large, claiming tens of millions of right-leaning Americans are holding the country back and would have been pro-segregation.

Reid then added that, citing polls, Black Americans have been reliably getting vaccinated (click “expand”):

What disturbs me are those who care nothing about black communities and who are actually hostile to our interests. I’m talking white nationalist curious Twitter bugs and chatter bugs like Tuckums and Marjory Green and Candace Owens, who leapt out to try to scoop up Nicki and put her on their team, using her vaccine misinformation to try to back up their own phony campaigns, pushing their base to reject the vaccines while they’re probably fully vaccinated themselves. These are the same Republicans and Republican talkers who have been working overtime to try to put vaccine refusal on black people’s shoulders, to try to morph mandates into some airborne virus version of 1950s segregation as if they would have opposed segregation if they had been around back then. It’s not only disingenuous, it’s also anti-facts. The data is clear that it is Republicans and more specifically Republicans who listen to Fox News and people like Tuckums and Marjorie and Candace who are the majority of those refusing to be vaccinated. Black Americans are Democrats and we poll like Democrats when it comes to our willingness to get the vaccine, so we are not the problem.

Completely trusting polls aside, Reid conceded “[t]here is still a lot of vaccine hesitancy among Black folks” for a range of reasons and, given “our history in this country,” “there are good, solid reasons for black people to have these doubts.”

Once again, this sober discussion evaporated back to her bitterly hateful personality by putting on-screen her anti-vaccine tweet that Minaj had tweeted out in one of her responses, saying she was reasonably “hesitant” and spread distrust because there was a “sociopath President in office, who was manipulating the CDC and FDA, pushing for a quicky vaccine, by election day.”

Reid concluded her rant with more explanation of why it was fine to spread conspiracy theories about the vaccines in 2020 because Trump was in office, but not now since someone from her party is in the White House (click “expand”):

Trump nearly broke the once trusted CDC and the FDA, to the point you couldn’t be sure that you were hearing from scientists and not just the political hacks when either agency spoke. And so, yeah, people like me were real hesitant. But luckily, there have been doctors and scientists who could reassure those of us who were willing to be reassured that the vaccines, once they came out, months later, were indeed safe and had been produced without any Trumpist input, whether or not they came through the unfortunately named Operation Warp Speed. 

We didn’t have to do our own research, because we could literally talk with the black woman, Mr. Kizzmekia Corbett, who developed the Moderna vaccine, or with doctors on this very show who personally treat Covid patients and could assure us that the vaccines were safe. That’s why I got vaccinated months ago and my immediate family got vaccinated. And yes, I talked to my doctor. Something that, by the way, lots of black folks who live in red, southern states that have refused to expand Medicaid cannot do because they don’t have a doctor or regular contact with the medical establishment in their states until they get sick. Vaccine hesitancy in the black community is a real and pressing issue. It’s not something to fight about on Twitter. It’s something to talk about. 

Earth to Joy: As per the liberal New York Times in August, only 28 percent of young Black New Yorkers are vaccinated. Maybe try and do something about that first.

After a break, Reid again flashed her venom for white people and conservatives: “There’s a tried and true tactic deployed by the right when it comes to, well, any problem facing the United States and that’s blaming the black people.”

A Brian Kilmeade clip and a CNN poll later as proof, Reid brought in Advancing Health Equity CEO Dr. Uché Blackstock for a discussion about how to address vaccine hesitancy and specifically among Black people both in the U.S. and globally (with both having family members in the Caribbean).

While a number of strategies Blackstock proposed were positive and fact-based, Reid predictably tried to make it partisan by making clear partway through that she didn’t want to concern herself with changing the minds of Republicans. And, of course, she argued white southerners have kept Black people from being healthy because some states haven’t expanded Medicaid.

So, to be clear, Reid wants to be able to demonize white conservatives as what ails America and how some have refused the vaccine, but she doesn’t want to concern herself with improving the country’s vaccination rate. Got it.

Reid’s anti-vaccine rhetoric and racial hatred toward conservatives and white Americans was made possible thanks to the endorsement of advertisers such as Ancestry, BMW, Lincoln, and Qunol. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the relevant MSNBC transcript from September 14, click here.

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DeSantis slams Biden’s vaccine orders, will fine cities that mandate the shot

NEWBERRY, Florida (LifeSiteNews) – In a news conference on Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened massive fines for local governments attempting to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida and vowed to take action against Joe Biden’s latest vaccination requirements.

“We are going to stand for the men and women who are serving us,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Alachua County. “We are going to protect Florida jobs. We are not going to let people be fired because of a vaccine mandate.”

The Republican governor took aim at cities and counties requiring employees to get vaccinated, saying that his administration would move to punish violations of Florida’s ban on COVID-19 vaccine mandates with potentially “millions of dollars” in fines.

“If a government agency in the state of Florida forces a vaccine as a condition to employment, that violates Florida law, and you will face a $5,000 fine for every single violation,” DeSantis said. “If you look at places here in Alachua County, like the city of Gainesville, I mean, that’s millions and millions of dollars potentially in fines.”

“We will certainly move to impose the fines as the law requires when we see people that are denied access,” he stressed.

In May, Florida enacted S.B. 2006, which bans government entities from requiring proof of COVID vaccination for employment or for access to services. The law also allows the governor to invalidate local emergency orders and prohibits businesses from asking patrons to provide proof of vaccination, though it does not ban vaccine mandates for private sector employees.

S.B. 2006 allows up to $5,000 in fines per violation for any business, school, or public entity that demands documentation of COVID-19 status.

The governments of Orange County, Leon County, and the city of Gainesville have nevertheless moved forward with strict vaccine mandates for employees, in defiance of S.B. 2006, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Those local governments said Monday that they will still continue to require vaccination, despite lawsuits brought by hundreds of workers.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings (D) acknowledged that fines due to the mandates would likely amount to “a lot of money.”

Biden’s ‘unconstitutional’ vaccine orders

At his news conference on Monday, DeSantis again slammed the COVID vaccination requirements announced last week by Joe Biden, which mandate the jab with no testing option for all federal employees, federal contractors, and healthcare workers at facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding.

Biden’s mandates extend to around 80 million private employees as well, through an anticipated rule from the Department of Labor that will require employers with more than 100 workers to make their workforce either take the vaccine or undergo weekly coronavirus testing. Refusal to comply could cost companies nearly $14,000 for each violation.

“This is not constitutional,” DeSantis said about the mandate for private employers. “Everyone in his administration for 9 months said they don’t have the ability to do this, that [the vaccines] shouldn’t be mandated.”

The governor also pointed to “glaring exemptions” in Biden’s executive orders, which notably exclude postal workers, Congress, and federal employees outside the executive branch.

“I don’t think postal should be forced, don’t get me wrong,” DeSantis said, “but Biden thinks everyone should be forced except, you deliver mail, somehow that’s fine. But, if you’re somebody – a nurse – who’s been working in the ICU for a private hospital for a year and a half treating COVID patients and likely has already had COVID, then somehow you’re going to get fired unless you follow the mandate.”

“How does that make sense at all? It doesn’t. This is all political,” he said.

Vaccine mandates also ignore the science on natural immunity, DeSantis added, pointing to studies, like from one Israel showing that post-infection immunity confers far greater protection against COVID-19 than the vaccines.

“Every single credible study always shows that [natural immunity] provides good protection, and so that’s just the reality,” the governor said. “I don’t support mandates at all, but if you’re doing mandates based off this, if you’re really following science, you would acknowledge this natural immunity, and instead, they ignore it.”

“It’s really about using government power control to mandate much more than it is about the underlying medical issues that are involved, and I think that is the perfect example of why.”

Gov. DeSantis vowed Monday that Florida is “fighting back against the Biden mandate.” “We’re working through different things that we’re going to be doing in the state of Florida but suffice it to say nobody should lose their job over this issue,” he said. “I think the fight with the Biden mandate is a real serious fight to defend the constitutional system.”

DeSantis did not provide any further details on how the state will fight the federal vaccine mandates. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said Thursday that she plans to use “any and all action within the authority of my office to stop this unprecedented power grab.”

Nearly all Republican governors and attorneys general from across more than two dozen states have condemned the Biden administration’s new mandates and have threatened legal challenges against them. The vaccine rules have already sparked large-scale protests, including in Idaho, where Joe Biden visited on Monday.

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DeSantis: $5,000 Fine for Public Employee Vaccine Mandates

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at CPAC in Orlando, Fla., February 26, 2021. (Joe Skipper/Reuters)

Florida governor Ron DeSantis warned on Monday that any city or county in the state that requires vaccination for employees would face a $5,000 fine.

DeSantis signed a law earlier this year prohibiting businesses from requiring proof of vaccination for coronavirus from patrons. The governor claimed that that law also applied to local governments seeking to implement vaccine mandates for employees.

“If a government agency in the state of Florida forces a vaccine as a condition of employment, that violates Florida law and you will face a $5,000 fine for every single violation,” DeSantis said at a press conference.

The governor was joined by several workers who did not want to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

“The vaccine changes your RNA,” one worker said. (The coronavirus mRNA vaccines, made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, do not in fact alter a patient’s RNA.)

A firefighter from Orange County, who previously had coronavirus, claimed that the vaccine could leave

DeSantis’s remarks came after the Florida Health Department announced earlier this month that it would fine businesses and government entities $5,000 for requiring proof of coronavirus vaccination.

DeSantis has staked out a position against coronavirus-related mandates, including for vaccines and masks. The governor signed an executive order in July banning school districts from mandating mask-wearing for pupils in class, although the order has faced numerous challenges in court.

In the latest ruling on that case, the First District Court of Appeals sided with the state in allowing the mask-mandate ban. That ruling will likely allow the ban to stay in effect through the fall semester, until a lower appellate court makes a final decision in the case.

The latest announcement comes days after President Biden announced that all companies with more than 100 employees would be forced to mandate the vaccine for their workers. Biden has also imposed a vaccine mandate for all federal employees and contractors.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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Hungary condemns EU move to fine Poland over judicial reform

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BUDAPEST — Hungary labeled European Union authorities as arrogant after they moved to impose financial penalties against Poland in a dispute over judicial reforms.

The European Commission said on Tuesday it had asked the EU’s top court to fine Poland over the activities of a judges’ disciplinary chamber, stepping up a long-running dispute over the rule of law.

Hungary’s Justice Minister Judit Varga said the action was unacceptable. “The (Hungarian) government has decided … to pass a resolution expressing its support for Poland, and condemn the malicious attacks by Brussels,” she said on her Facebook page late on Wednesday.

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Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who met Polish President Andrzej Duda in Budapest on Thursday, assured Duda of Hungary’s “solidarity and full support” in the context of Brussels’ “attack” on Poland, the PM’s press chief told news agency MTI.

Orban said that Brussels is “abusing its power” and called the fine “outrageous and completely unacceptable.” He said that the procedure against Poland is a threat to EU unity and Hungary will weigh the possibility of acting on the side of Poland in European court proceedings.

Warsaw said three weeks ago that the chamber would be dismantled as part of wider judiciary reforms in coming months.

But the executive Commission said it was taking action now as the chamber was already being used to pressure judges or exert political control over judicial decisions, thereby undercutting EU law.

Varga said ignoring the Polish promise was a “scandalous and arrogant” step by a Commission that was “meddling in the judiciary and law-making process of a sovereign member state in an unprecedented manner.”

Hungary and Poland have been allies for years, both locked in a series of conflicts with Brussels over core issues including the rule of law and press freedoms and LGBT rights. They say they are protecting their traditional societies from Western liberalism. (Reporting by Krisztina Than Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, John Stonestreet, William Maclean)

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Reilly Opelka blasts $10K fine for unapproved bag as a ‘joke’

Sep 4, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Reilly Opelka of the United States hits a backhand against Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia (not pictured) on day six of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

September 5, 2021

Reilly Opelka was none too pleased to be fined $10,000 for bringing an unapproved tennis bag onto the court before his second-round match at the U.S. Open last Thursday, calling it a “joke.”

Opelka carried in a pink bag with a custom logo with the name of an art gallery in Belgium.

“The head referee was telling me you should have come in and had this thing measured,” he said. “The ref just told me — I mean, I actually thought it was a different bag. We had that logo specifically made. We measured. It is too big. It was not the same bag I was using at the French Open. We made the effort to make it smaller. There was a mistake in production, I think, because in Europe with the conversion, with what was allowed.”

He added it was not his job to measure a logo on his bag.

“My job is to win matches. I have bigger things to worry about,” Opelka said. “For the referee to tell me it’s my job to measure a logo, no, clearly not. It’s his job. I’m trying to beat (Nikoloz) Basilashvili and make the round of 16 of a Grand Slam.”

Opelka indeed accomplished that goal, topping his Georgian opponent in the third round Saturday 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-4. It marks the furthest the 24-year-old has advanced in a Grand Slam in his young career.

Opelka, ranked No. 24 in the world, is one of three American men to have reached the Round of 16 in New York this year, along with Frances Tiafoe and Jenson Brooksby. He will meet South African Lloyd Harris on Monday with a quarterfinal berth on the line.

“I snapped a racquet over my knee (once), didn’t get fined a dollar,” Opelka added. “And you bring a pink bag and got fined 10 grand? What a joke.”

–Field Level Media

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Tennis-Opelka calls $10k fine for unapproved bag a ‘joke’

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NEW YORK — American Reilly Opelka hit out at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) on Saturday, calling his $10,000 fine by the U.S. Open organizers for carrying an unapproved bag on court a joke.

The USTA ruled that the bag Opelka took to court on Thursday, during his second round win over Italian Lorenzo Musetti, included manufacturer logos that exceeded the approved limit of four square inches.

Opelka, the 22nd seed at this year’s U.S. Open, walked out for his match against Musetti with a pink tote bag bearing the name of a Belgian art gallery.

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“I mean, what a joke on the U.S. Open to do that. 10K for a pink bag? Come on,” Opelka said after his third-round win over Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili.

“The head referee was telling me you should have come in and had this thing measured … We had that logo specifically made. We measured. It is too big. It was not the same bag I was using at the French Open. We made the effort to make it smaller.

“There was a mistake in production, I think, because in Europe with the conversion, with what was allowed. But, yeah, I made the effort. The referee told me that it was too big and that was it. She said to cover one side of it.”

Opelka also took a dig about the decision on Twitter, saying “U.S. Open ticket sales must be struggling this year.”

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He said he was not aware of the fine, the highest at this year’s U.S. Open, until a journalist commented on it on Twitter.

“I didn’t even find out from them, which is even more comical,” he said, adding that other players have got away with much worse and smaller fines.

“I thought it was a bit harsh, a bit excessive. My job is not to measure logos. My job is to win matches. I have bigger things to worry about.

“I’d love to see (the amount) get donated elsewhere. We’ve had a few tragedies here in the States the last couple weeks. If they are going to take 10K from me, it better not go to a major corporation. That’s my thought.” (Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Florida to Fine Any Individual or Business $5,000 Per Incident for Discriminating on Vaccination Status

Effective September 16th, the state of Florida will fine any individual or business that discriminates against vaccination status.

Florida is showing why its economy is growing and real estate is going up, up, up.

According to a local media outlet TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP):

Florida will start issuing $5,000 fines to businesses, schools, and government agencies that require people to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.

TRENDING: New Text Messages Reveal 2nd Battalion 1st Marines Were Given “a Countdown” Before Kabul Airport Bombing – It Started About Two Hours Out – They Are Now Being Silenced

Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill earlier this year that banned vaccine passports.  The fines will start on Sept. 16 if people are asked to show proof of a vaccine. Violators will have the chance to appeal but, once the fine is finalized, they will have 30 days to pay.

Let’s hope this is enforced across the state and other states do the same.  The vaccine insanity is out of bounds.

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Florida to Start Fining Businesses $5,000 for Violations of Vaccine Passport Ban

The Florida Department of Health has issued a notice indicating it will start issuing $5,000 fines to businesses, schools, and government agencies that require Floridians to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

The health department rule, which goes into effect on Sept. 16, details the penalties that businesses and other entities, including nonprofits, face for violating section 381.00316 of the 2021 Florida Statutes, which prohibits them from requiring customers or patrons to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or postinfection recovery in order to gain access to their premises or services.

“Each violation of Section 381.00316, F.S., will result in the imposition of a $5,000 fine per individual and separate violation against the business, governmental entity or the educational institution. Fines imposed are due and payable to the Department within 30 days of entry of the final order unless otherwise stated in the final order,” reads the Florida Department of Health notice.

Health care providers are exempt from the fine, which also does not apply to vaccine requirements businesses or other entities impose on their own employees.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order in April that banned vaccine passports.

“No COVID-19 vaccine is required by law,” the governor’s order stated, adding that “vaccination records are private health information” that shouldn’t be shared via a mandate. The passports, DeSantis said at the time, would infringe on personal liberties and harm patient privacy.

“A requirement to show a passport to take part in everyday life such as a sporting event, going to a restaurant or going to a movie theater would ‘create two classes of citizens,’” DeSantis stated.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is seen in Miami, Fla., on July 13, 2021. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Reacting to the Florida health department’s announcement that it would start imposing fines on entities demanding patrons show proof of vaccination, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the state’s only statewide elected Democrat and a candidate hoping to challenge DeSantis for governor next year, was critical.

“Governor DeSantis is retaliating against Floridians who are trying to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19,” Fried told The Associated Press in an emailed statement. “This not only goes against common sense—it’s also an insult to the free market principles that he claims to champion.”

Tom Ozimek

Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he’s ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: ‘Hit your target’ and ‘leave the best for last.’

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