DeSantis ready to stir up Florida’s fight over COVID-19 mandates

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to make permanent to state's ban on COVID-19 mandates for masks and vaccines.

TALLAHASSEE – In a wide-ranging attack on efforts to combat COVID-19, Gov. Ron DeSantis called Tuesday for the Republican-controlled Legislature to make permanent Florida’s prohibitions on mask mandates at schools and vaccine requirements for local governments and businesses. 

The measures were enacted during a special session DeSantis called in late 2021, when he was fighting many Florida school districts, private businesses and the federal government under President Joe Biden, which were taking steps they saw as potentially needed to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. 

The mandate bans approved then by Florida lawmakers are set to expire in June.  

But DeSantis wants to keep them on the books and raised the specter that efforts to reinstate them could emerge from places like California, which actually lifted statewide requirements almost a year ago. 

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