Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Lake City Thursday morning, where he defended rescinding local COVID-19 enforcement fines as a move to protect people from the “heavy hand of government” and “out of control” fines.
“I don’t think it’s conservative or liberal. I just think that those fines are out of control and we want to make sure that folks are protected,” DeSantis said.
“Most of those restrictions have not been effective. That’s just the reality,” DeSantis added. “The evidence is in on that.”
“So we want to go forward fresh and we want people to make decisions, but we don’t want it under the heavy hand of government,” the Governor wrapped.
DeSantis memorialized his position Wednesday, via Executive Order 21-65, called a “Clemency Order Regarding Remission of Fines.”
That order asserted that “a categorical, statewide remission of fines related to COVID-19 restrictions is warranted in light of the unprecedented local government restrictions imposed on individuals and businesses over the course of the past year,” and notes that the state Clemency Board approved DeSantis’ proposal to “categorically remit” such fines from March 1, 2020, onward.
Almost all fines are waived here, but one important category is not: fines relative to hospitals, assisted living facilities, and other health care providers.
“I think we need to get away from trying to penalize people for social distancing and just work with people constructively, put out what you want,” he said in September. “But to impose some type of penalty of either … all these fines we’re going to hold in abeyance and hope that we can move forward in a way that’s more collaborative.”
The Governor routinely lambastes “lockdown” states and politicians, and he’s likely to eagerly defend this move as another example of how Florida is “free.”