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Local and State News Update

Here’s a local news update from WFIT, Florida Today, and the Florida News Exchange.

Is DeSantis 'out of touch' with businesses on vaccine passport ban?

A top legal expert at the World Health Organization called out Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for an April 2 executive order prohibiting vaccine passports.

The governor who has molded a populist, and popular, political brand as a pro-business, pro-worker and pro-economic reopening leader, has now taken a decidedly interventionist state measure by telling private companies how to operate their businesses in the time of COVID.

His order would seem to prevent private universities from requiring faculty and students to show proof of vaccination to re-enter the classroom full-time. And it would seem to prevent tourist attractions and sports venues from requiring such documentation as they seek to expand attendance. And what about the doughnut chain offering a freebie to those who show their vaccine cards?

The executive order says neither private businesses nor government institutions may issue vaccine passports or require them from employees or customers.

But critics of the ban say DeSantis has overstepped his authority by encroaching on federal government territory. And they argue DeSantis failed to connect the fact that his executive order is doing precisely what he accused the CDC of doing — preventing key businesses from restarting in the way they believe is safest.

According to a representative from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission “DeSantis is going directly against the EEOC, which has specifically said that requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of work is lawful under federal law, “DeSantis, as a governor, does not have the power to sweep away private sector rights.”

Vaccine passports are on the list of CDC recommendations for cruise lines to restart and they represent one of many precautions the industry is taking to ensure the safety of passengers, crew and the people in the ports in which they visit.

Even if Florida’s Legislature passed a law banning vaccine passports, it might face opposition from cruise lines, universities or other private businesses,

Certainly, support for vaccinations is growing. About 69% of Americans either already received or plan to get a vaccine.

DeSantis blasts YouTube for taking down COVID-19 video over misinformation concerns

After video of a meeting last month between Ron DeSantis and scientists was taken off YouTube because of COVID-19 misinformation, the Republican governor rounded up some of the same experts Monday for another roundtable.

It quickly turned into a stage for airing grievances about the power of social media and what they called the censoring of people arguing against lockdowns, school closures and mask-wearing.

“What we’re really witnessing is Orwellian,” DeSantis said. “It’s a Big Tech, corporate media collusion. And the end result is that the narrative is always right. Well, I don’t think that’s what the American people want.”

The YouTube take-down gave DeSantis, whose star is rising nationally in Republican politics, his second opportunity in as many weeks to turn his anger on major media after last week’s lashing of the 60 Minutes report.

The video of DeSantis’s roundtable discussion last month at the Florida Capitol was removed last week because it violated YouTube’s standards, the company said. YouTube said the video included “content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

For these stories and more www.floridatoday.com

Terri Wright has held the position of General Manager at WFIT since 1998.