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‘A Civil Right’: Red State Governor Promises New Protections Against Vax Discrimination, Mask Mandates

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Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged to bring forward legislation further protecting individuals from discrimination based on whether they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19 in a Thursday press conference.

Many of the state’s COVID-19 related rules are expected to expire in July, but DeSantis plans to push for further protections from vaccine-related discrimination along with protection from forced masking policies, he said. The announcement came during a press conference about the state’s plans to lower prescription drug costs.

“We were the first state in the country to ban COVID vaccine passports in the spring of 2021, almost two years ago,” DeSantis continued. “We protected employees from being fired from their job. We did a special session in 2021 over the shots [and] banned schools from requiring covid shots for students, including universities.

The governor also pledged to further limit mask requirements, suggesting that private businesses shouldn’t be allowed to impose masking requirements on individuals.

“We’re gonna do a whole package. We’re gonna make all this permanent, then we’re gonna add some more protections for people,” DeSantis said. “You should be able to live your life without a mask … I just think it’s a civil right to be able to breathe the fresh air and be able to live your life.”

The Florida legislature is scheduled to convene for its regular session March 7.

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