Today, Governor Ron DeSantis gave full pardons for all Floridians facing criminal or civil penalty for disobeying local COVID-19 restrictions and mandates through Executive Order.
He expanded upon action taken in May to protect Floridians from local government overreach related to COVID-19 restrictions by proposing statewide, categorical grant of full pardons of both civil and criminal penalties to individuals or businesses punished for breaking what he called “unscientific, unnecessary directives.”
DeSantis pointed to former gym owners Mike and Jillian Carnevale as examples of Floridians who have faced criminal penalties, including possible jail time, for not complying with local mask mandates at their former business in Broward County.
“Floridians like Mike and Jillian Carnevale should have never faced criminal charges for not requiring masks in their businesses,” said DeSantis. “Today, we took action in Florida to reject the overreach of local authorities through unnecessary and unscientific mask mandates. No business should face economic ruin and be punished for alleged violations of local orders that are unreasonably restrictive of rights and liberties.”
“Florida has created a blueprint and will continue to blaze the path for other states and countries to follow,” said Carnevale. “Governor Ron DeSantis’s data driven leadership has kept Florida’s economy open while saving lives, which we now know to be directly linked through experience. I am overwhelmed with gratitude of the pardoning of these allegations and I am excited for the future of Florida.”
Executive Order 21-132 grants a full pardon for all non-violent offenses related to local government COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order 21-133 again remits all fines related to local government COVID-19 restrictions.
Local governments and politicians will surely cry fowl and label this latest action as another overreach by the governor who has signed or has waiting to be signed, several pieces of legislation passed this year by the Florida House and Senate which preempts local government authority, such part of the 2021 Anti-Riot legislation which gives a path for local sheriffs to appeal to the state if a local government defunds the county’s law enforcement agency. The Capitolist reached out the the Florida League of Cities and will update if we receive comment.
But one of the two Democrat 2022 gubernatorial candidates, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried was quick to release a comment via Twitter. “… our so-called pro-law enforcement Governor is actively encouraging people to break the law with politically-motivated stunts like this. We’ve seen what happens when rogue citizens are empowered by misguided leaders. We have laws for a reason. We may not agree with all of them, but we are obligated to follow them as the price of a civil society. Local leaders made choices to protect health, safety, and local economies during an unprecedented health crisis. We cannot allow this Governor to turn Florida into a ‘cradle of the insurrection’ while we have hundreds of thousands of deserving Floridians waiting for relief from their fines and fees to regain their right to vote.”