New Florida Law Allows Governor to Override Local Public Health Mandates

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Monday legislation that gives him sweeping powers to invalidate local emergency measures put in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

The move codifies many of the actions DeSantis has already taken to suspend remaining COVID-19 restrictions imposed by local communities and will give Florida governors broad authority in future public health crises to override local edicts that do not conform to those issued by the state.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future,” DeSantis said, “but I think this creates a structure that’s going to be a little bit more respectful, I think, of people’s businesses jobs, schools and personal freedom.”

The law goes into effect July 1, but DeSantis said he would issue an executive order to enact some provisions more quickly, including preemption of existing coronavirus measures enacted by local governments, such as mask mandates.

Signage promoting safety guidelines to stop the spread of the coronavirus are seen at the Moon Crush more...