The Florida House approved a bill late Wednesday night that would bar businesses in the state from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination, a position promoted prominently by conservatives that included Gov. Ron DeSantis.
House members, by a 76-40 vote, approved the measure that was tucked into a bill intended to update the state’s powers during a future health emergency, the Miami Herald reports. It now will be sent to the Florida Senate for approval, with the legislative session set to end Friday.
“The irony is that this bill would grant rights to the people who have not been vaccinated, but it doesn’t protect me,’’ Rep. Michael Grieco, a Miami Beach Democrat, told the paper “And it’s time to start thinking about policy and start thinking about science and less about politics.”
DeSantis was a vocal opponent against the so-called COVID-19 passports, arguing it would create privacy issues despite the state already requiring vaccinations for students attending public schools.
The Governor issued an executive order April 2nd banning them from being required. The order does not preclude businesses such as restaurants and retail stores from screening protocols and other measures recommended by state and federal health officials.
A top labor and employment lawyer told NBC 6 earlier in April that the order could result in a clash with federal powers.
"If a private company that owns the building is requiring its guests and employees to show a vaccine passport, the governor would have to find a way to find that unconstitutional because at this point it is constitutional," said Andrew Zelmanowitz, a partner in the Fort Lauderdale offices of the Berger Singerman law firm.