State Representative Nick DiCeglie and Senator Jason Brodeur are filing a bill aimed at protecting Floridians and their right to practice religion from emergency orders implemented by the government.
The Indian Rocks Beach Republican filed HB 215 (Emergency Orders Prohibiting Religious Services or Activities) on Thursday in response to pandemic-related emergency orders that seek to restrict religious services. The legislation, and its companion bill in the Senate filed by Brodeur, a Republican that represents District 9, also seeks to define the term “religious institution.”
DiCieglie says the measure will ensure that every Floridian’s right to freely practice religion is protected from emergency orders which explicitly prevent such gatherings.
“An American’s freedom to practice religion is a fundamental part of our U.S. and Florida Constitutions,” DiCeglie said in a press release. “This bill will prevent government from infringing on the rights of Floridians in the years to come, even in times of uncertainty and crisis.”
The bill comes as the Supreme Court continues to strike down pandemic-related restrictions against religious services across the country. Last November, the high court blocked some of New York’s strictest limits on religious gatherings that were designed to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Most recently, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote that California cannot impose restrictions on religious gatherings in households.
DiCeglie added in the press release that it’s time for such government overreach to be curtailed, and the rights of the individual restored.
“We’ve seen big government in other states seize every opportunity to take rights away from the individual, this bill helps take a stand against those tactics in the future.” continued DiCeglie. “I took office with the goal of defending individual rights and am honored to work with Sen. Brodeur to get this great bill signed into law.”
To view the full text of the bill, click here.