TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Today, the Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy approved SB 252 – “Protection from Discrimination Based on Health Care Choices.” The bill is allegedly intended to prevent businesses, government and other entities from requiring Floridians to take COVID-19 vaccines, provide proof of COVID vaccination and wear masks or face shields.
The bill has been criticized for not being comprehensive enough by supporters of SB 222, which has a more far-reaching application, encompassing all vaccines. That bill was introduced the same day as SB 252 but seems to have since stalled; it is not to be found on any committee agenda.
During the committee meeting, SB 252’s sponsor, Sen. Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland), introduced a delete-all amendment which defines what vaccines the proposed legislation will cover. This includes the “COVID-19 vaccine”; products that fall under Emergency Use Authorization, and mRNA vaccines.
MAY REQUIRE MRNA VACCINATIONS IN 2025
The latter provision, regarding mRNA vaccines, is set to be repealed on June 1, 2025. In debate, Sen. Burton was asked by Sen. Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) about the motivation for the mRNA provision in the proposed legislation.
“As we all know, that particular type of vaccine is a new technology and the normal timeframe for a vaccine to be authorized is usually in the realm of five to ten years and the mRNA vaccines at least for COVID have only been with us a few years now … so this gives our communities, our state our scientists a couple of more years to work on those mRNA vaccines to further develop them and provide greater comfort and quite frankly, better data moving forward,” Burton said.
Florida Deputy Secretary for Health Dr. Kenneth Scheppke then testified in support of mRNA technology.
“This is a new technology, we are still learning about it,” Scheppke said, only to be interrupted by Sen. Berman who asked if it wasn’t true that mRNA technology has been worked on for over 20 years. The Florida Standard has previously reported on how the mRNA technology was developed by the U.S. military.
Dr. Scheppke corrected himself and acknowledged that the technology in fact isn’t new at all, but that the COVID-19 vaccine was the first use of it in a large-scale population.
RELIES ON FEDERAL EXEMPTIONS
When it comes to vaccines other than those mentioned, the proposed legislation reads that “a governmental entity shall provide for exemptions and reasonable accommodations for religious and medical reasons in accordance with federal law.” This is a contentious point, since federal authorities such as the Department of Defense systematically denied staff exemptions on those grounds – before the mandate was rescinded in January of this year.
The bill also states that a hospital “may not interfere with a patient’s right to choose COVID-19 treatment alternatives as recommended by a health care practitioner with privileges at the hospital if the health care practitioner has obtained informed consent from the patient.”
“OFFERS NO TRUE PROTECTIONS”
Medical freedom activist Mo van Hoek, who together with Florida Sen. Joe Gruters and Rep. Webster Barnaby championed a more wide-ranging bill, is very critical of SB 252.
“SB 252 offers no true protections and only applies to certain vaccines leaving Floridians unprotected from the next mandate,” van Hoek tells The Florida Standard. “Floridians are being sold a bill of goods. As these bills that offer true protection from overreaching all vaccine mandates and discrimination sit, special interest groups that want to preserve their right to abuse and remove the freedoms of Floridians when the next pandemic comes have greased the way for impostor bills SB 252 and HB 1013 to cruise through the legislature,” van Hoek says.
Addressing the governor directly, van Hoek has the following to say:
“At a time when America is watching Florida and expecting freedom – based on Governor DeSantis’s words – his actions aren’t in alignment, and Florida is missing the opportunity to stand up to the abuses we have all endured in the last three years and provide real protection for our future.”
LEAVES IT OPEN FOR THE WHO
According to the bill text, a governmental entity or educational institution “may not adopt, implement, or enforce an international health organization’s public health policies or guidelines unless authorized to do so under state law, rule, or executive order issued by the Governor” – essentially leaving it open for the state to adopt edicts from the World Health Organization and make such an organization’s mandates apply in Florida as long as it’s made via executive order or other “rulemaking.”
“SB 252 hands our state and body sovereignty over to the federal government, which allows for discriminatory practices based on your vaccination status. Moreover, to international health organizations. This is certainly not a ‘Blueprint of Freedom,’ but a path to federal control and worse – global control of Floridians’ private health decisions,” Mo van Hoek concludes.