Ashley Moody backs plaintiffs against Gainesville vaccine mandate

Ashley Moody
The brief marks the state's latest effort to stamp out vaccine mandates sprouting in cities across state.

With Republicans’ temperaments flaring over vaccine mandates, Attorney General Ashley Moody asked a court Monday to block the city of Gainesville from requiring all city employees to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment.

Moody’s brief, filed in Florida’s 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Alachua County, marks the state’s latest effort to stomp out vaccine mandates sprouting in cities across state.

In the three page emergency relief document, Moody sides with the plaintiffs — a group of Gainesville city employees — and argues the “unlawful” mandate will aggravate the shortage of law enforcement officers across Florida.

Fewer officers, she warned, may lead to longer responser times, fewer solved crimes and even a “lower quality of life” in impacted areas.

“I want more eligible Floridians to seek out information about the vaccine and make a deliberate, informed decision about their health,” Moody, who is vaccinated, said in a news release. “However, the government forcing compliance by our first responders is wrong.”

The brief also asserts local vaccine mandates will undermine Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ effort to replenish dwindling law enforcement staff in Florida.

The Sunshine State — like many other places — is reckoning with an exodus of law enforcement officers. Nationwide, thousands of law officers have quit, and agencies are struggling to recruit after the murder of George Floyd. Morale is low even among remaining officers, according to a June survey by the Police Executive Research Forum.

In a move to recruit more officers, DeSantis last week unveiled plans to offer a $5,000 signing bonus to new law enforcement officers in Florida. He’s also offering the police certification exam at no-cost to out-of-state cops and plans to create a scholarship to support recruits who need financial backing.

“But as the State seeks to ensure adequate police protection for its citizens, the City of Gainesville is undermining those efforts, threatening to fire police, first responders, and other city employees over the deeply personal decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine,” the brief says. “Forcing police officers out of their jobs is contrary to public safety and is therefore contrary to the public interest.”

Republican leaders including DeSantis, Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis rallied Alachua County residents in opposition to the mandate at an event early Monday.

The trio, along with others, blasted the mandates as the latest example of government overreach amid the pandemic. DeSantis also touted his battle plan against vaccine mandates.

Notably, fines rank among the Governor’s boldest strategies.

DeSantis will soon implement fines on businesses, schools and government agencies that require visitors to show proof of vaccination. The $5,000 fines will begin Thursday.

In a statement, DeSantis specifically criticized Gainesville and Orange County — two municipalities with vaccine mandates.

They and their “big government mandates,” he charged, should alarm Floridians.

“This is political, it’s about using government power to control,” DeSantis said. “We’re going to protect these jobs, we’re going to protect livelihoods and we’re going to protect families.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


  • PeterH

    September 13, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    Let’s keep in mind folks that the Florida taxpayers are picking up the tab for the Governor’s ridiculous court cases. Vaccines are mandated for Florida’s school children….. I’m not sure why the Governor and Moody believe that the Gainesville police should be exempt from getting the vaccine!

    • Jerry

      September 13, 2021 at 7:28 pm

      Because those other vaccines have been available for DECADES. Their safety records are well documented and proven over years. Those vaccines also are proven to stop the spread, make you immune to those diseases, and they last for years and even decades.

      These COVID vaccines are less than a year old, have limited long-term safety data, they don’t stop the spread, and they don’t make you immune. They have a list of side effects that are more severe than most other vaccines. And they last only 6-8 months. Not to mention, COVID very rarely is serious in children.

      These vaccines are doing nothing but making Pfizer and Moderna insanely rich at taxpayers expense.

      If this vaccine stopped you from catching and spreading it, and is proven safe over the long term, then we can discuss mandates. Then it will be beneficial to the community. But it doesn’t do any of that! There is little to no communal benefit. If you get the vaccine, it MIGHT make the symptoms of COVID less severe for you. But it doesn’t stop you from getting it and spreading it. You getting the vaccine is not helping those around you.

      That right there is the difference between Polio, and Measles, and such. You get those vaccines to stop the spread. COVID vaccines don’t stop the spread!

      • PeterH

        September 13, 2021 at 7:31 pm

        The MRNA vaccines have been lab tested for twenty years.

        There is not a vaccine on the market that is 100% effective.

        The primary spreaders of Covid today are the unvaccinated.

        • Jerry

          September 13, 2021 at 7:42 pm

          “Lab tested.”
          In other words they have not been tested on such a massive scale as this.
          MMR and Polio vaccines have been out for over a half-century. Chicken Pox vaccine came out in the early 90s and was tested for almost a decade before it was made mandatory in schools.
          You want COVID vaccines to be fully mandatory for everyone and it’s only been out for 10 months?

          And long term studies show that getting the Measles vaccine is extraordinarily effective. You get the vaccine and it’s 97% effective at giving you immunity AND preventing you from spreading it. Right now, these COVID vaccines are NOWHERE near that number. Absolutely nowhere near it.

          • PeterH

            September 13, 2021 at 8:31 pm

            Tens of Millions of people around the globe have successfully been vaccinated and living quite well with the mRNA vaccine. The test results are remarkable.

            The more people that get vaccinated the better off our economy and ability to live.

            Not getting vaccinated is far more dangerous.

          • Alex

            September 13, 2021 at 9:01 pm

            The old “if it doesn’t work perfectly safely every time it’s a waste of time” argument conservatives love.

            Lets shit-can the flu vaccines because they aren’t perfectly effective forever, ok?

            Most Americans actually do understand probability.

  • Andrew Finn

    September 13, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    I guess Ashley Moody is trying to become a professional jackass right alongside of Emperor DeSantis. Really a shame that the people of Florida get to put up with, and pay for the escapades of, these morons.

  • Aimee Hall

    September 13, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    Here are 7 at-home jobs that pay at least $100/day. And there’s quite the variety too! Some of these work-at-home jobs are more specialized,JHG others are jobs that anyone can do. They all pay at least $3000/month, but some pay as much as $10,000.

  • Adam Lin Wendling

    September 14, 2021 at 9:07 am

    The leading cause of death for first responders in 2020 was covid related illness. Hospitals have repeatedly paused surgeries for lack of beds since they’re full of unvaccinated covid patients. Hospitals can’t take transfers for lack of resources due to unvaccinated covid patients. Hospitals can’t discharge patients because longterm care facilities are full and too many unvaccinated staff are themselves out with covid.

    So yes refusing the vaccine harms us all. Period.

  • Claude Kirk

    September 15, 2021 at 9:56 am

    I like getting a laugh out of the leftist trolls that constantly post their party line message here. Most of the posters likely Peter Schorsh and the staff trying to gin up some additional leftist slant and readership above and beyond the already slanted content and reporting style of the articals.
    Keep up the entertainment factor Peter and staff you propagandists under the guise of a legit online publication are a hoot!!!!!

  • Amor Amankwah

    September 18, 2021 at 11:28 am

    I hope people understand that there is nothing in the law that stops employees from mandating vaccines for their employers. They were doing this for weeks and Desantis and his people said it was fine. This is all bluster.

Comments are closed.


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