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The Florida House Minority Co-Leader says the state has concrete shoes when responding to public health emergencies

Documents rest on the desk of a state lawmaker.
Rebecca Blackwell
AP Photo
Agenda documents rest on the desk of State Rep. Evan Jenne during a special legislative session considering bills targeting COVID-19 vaccine mandates, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida lawmakers on Monday began debating a package of bills to combat coronavirus vaccine mandates, continuing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' fight against virus rules.

Florida House Minority Co-Leader Evan Jenne says the state is at a disadvantage when it comes to public health. He says that's due to new laws passed earlier this month during a special legislative session.

One law is meant to take down vaccine mandates that provide no exemptions for private-sector workers or government employees. Another reinforces the Parents' Bill of Rights to stop school districts from enacting student mask and vaccination requirements with no exemptions. Jenne says laws like these give Florida concrete shoes when responding to public health emergencies.

"Unfortunately, I think it will probably have a bit of a detrimental effect," Jenne says.

When asked about the new Omicron variant, Jenne says Floridians need to wait to see how it affects people. He also says there's no turning back.

"We are what we are here in the state of Florida. And we're just going to have to see what happens," Jenne says.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website that the Omicron variant has not been identified in the U.S. to date. And taking measures to reduce the spread of infection, including getting a COVID-19 vaccine, is the best way to slow the emergence of new variants.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.