Orange County mayor responds to Florida executive orders suspending local COVID-19 emergency orders

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In response to two executive orders Governor Ron DeSantis signed to suspend and invalidate all local COVID-19 emergency orders, Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings released his statement, which says in part “I will continue to make decisions in the best interest of their health (and) safety …”

Yesterday, Monday, May 3, DeSantis signed two executive orders. Executive Order 21-101, which invalidates all remaining local emergency orders for COVID-19, is effective July 1. Executive Order 21-102, which suspends all remaining local government mandated and restrictions based on the COVID‑19 state of emergency, is effective immediately.

Demings released his May 3 statement as follows:

In review of the governor’s executive orders, I am not surprised. He first indicated that the order would not take effect until July 1, 2021, and then quickly changed it to be ‘effective immediately.’ He then offered new language that invalidates a local government’s ability to take action during a public health emergency. Orange County Government will continue to review its statutory authority and will respond accordingly. Governor DeSantis has been slow to act in responding to the pandemic, which has caused local elected officials (mayors) to take action to fill the void and keep their residents safe.

I want Orange County residents to know that I will continue to make decisions in the best interest of their health, safety and welfare and will not wait on the governor to tell me what to do.

This immediate past legislative session is proof positive of how the state is preempting local home-rule powers – that is not good for democracy.

When I ask myself, ‘What is really the purpose of the governor’s actions?’ I conclude that his actions are part of a larger partisan strategy by the Republican Party to usurp the authority of Democrat-led urban counties and cities across America. We expect better from the governor of Florida.

The Apopka Chief and The Planter are weekly community newspapers, independently owned and family operated, that have served the greater Apopka area in Central Florida since 1923 and 1965 respectively. Subscribe today!