For a mid-week moment, it appeared Florida’s chief executive had accorded great regulatory and enforcement authority to local governments in issuing his statewide stay-at-home order.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decree allowed local governments to impose tighter restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic than levied by the state, other than those stipulated in the order.
The executive order bucked a decades-long trend in state Republican leadership’s use of “predatory preemption” to whittle away at home rule across the regulatory landscape.
DeSantis cleared away any confusion such a thing was to occur in a Thursday amendment memo that declared his order “shall supersede any conflicting official action or order issued by local officials in response to COVID-19.”
The revised order reinterprets a line in the original decree allowing local governments to implement restrictive orders by erasing it.
Nevertheless, DeSantis assured reporters Thursday, the revised order ensures “the baseline” and local governments can impose stricter measures if they choose.
Local governments “can go beyond what I’ve done. What we’re doing is setting a floor,” he said. “And they can’t go below the floor.”
Except when it comes to religious services.
DeSantis’ order defines "religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship" as “essential” and, therefore, preempts local restrictions on religious gatherings. The original did not do so.
“I don’t know that they would have the authority, quite frankly, to close a religious ... the Constitution doesn’t get suspended here. There’s got to be ways where you can accommodate,” DeSantis said.
The governor met with religious leaders and agreed “their work is important” and should be classified as “essential.”
“There is no reason why you can’t do a church service 6 feet apart,” he said. “In times like this, I think the service that they are performing is going to be very important to people, particularly coming up in the Easter season.”
Michigan, New Mexico, Delaware, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia are among states with stay-at-home exemptions for religious services.
Virginia and Maryland require places of worship to limit in-person services to fewer than 10 people, which is the same as President Donald Trump’s administration’s 30-day guidelines and DeSantis’ stay-at-home order – except, apparently, for religious services.
Local officials are on edge as some pastors, such as Brandon megachurch preacher Rodney Howard-Browne, threaten to defy stay-at-home orders to open their churches for services Easter Sunday, a little more than a week away.
The Evangelical pastor of The River at Tampa Bay Church was arrested on misdemeanor counts of unlawful assembly and violation of a county-wide order after he was warned to limit his congregation to fewer than 10 people in compliance with a county stay-at-home order.
Claiming the restriction violated his First Amendment rights, Howard-Browne staged two services Sunday at his megachurch south of Tampa, drawing up to 500 worshippers.
He has since hired Liberty Counsel attorney Mathew Staver. Staver represented Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay people in 2015.
In a live streamed call-in Thursday, Browne said he had closed the church “to protect the congregation, not from the virus, but from a tyrannical government."
He said the church would remain closed through Sunday, Palm Sunday, but did not dismiss hosting services on Easter Sunday on April 12.
"At this time, I have not made any decision about Easter Sunday or services thereafter," he said. "Adonica (his wife) and I are praying and seeking the Lord for wisdom. I will say, however, that the church cannot be closed indefinitely."
Wake up America, we are in the midst of a war and have been attacked like we haven’t been since Pearl Harbor.
In case you haven’t noticed, our opponent is China. The only difference is they have caused mass crisis, chaos, death and destruction to America- without firing a bullet, or bomb.
Fellow Americans and citizens of the Free World, it’s time we wake up and prepare for battle. Once America mobilizes for all-out war, we never lose.
One positive result of the Chinese coronavirus outbreak is that we have clearly seen that China is not only not our friend, they are our bitter enemy. China may not have purposely released the coronavirus, however, their actions following its spread clearly shows their true colors.
Not only did they withhold critical information and refuse to cooperate to limit the virus’s spread, they supplied desperate countries with faulty masks, test kits and respirators. And rather than accept responsibility, China tried to place the blame on the US military- a despicable and disgraceful lie.
Perhaps even worse is the discovery that over the past decade or two here in America, deep-state, big-business crony capitalists; working with corrupt, swamp-dwelling politicians; allowed China to take control of most of our manufacturing and the supply chain of America’s essential medical and pharmaceutical products. For more details, study the Clinton Crime Family, Biden Crime Family, Kerry Crime Family and Obama Crime Family.
Even worse, rather than stepping up and joining the world in fighting this deadly outbreak, China is holding life-saving medical products hostage, even threatening to withhold them from the rest of the world. The only saving grace is, who wants their products? They’re mostly defective.
What was China’s goal? Perhaps world economic domination, or perhaps economic retaliation, or perhaps simply covering up communist incompetence on a grand scale.
Does it matter? Wake up America, this is our generation’s Pearl Harbor
It is almost impossible to explain how fortunate that at this time in history, America is led by a man like President Donald J. Trump. Unlike typical politicians who see a crisis only as a way to secure and increase government’s power, Trump is a businessman who sees a problem and solves it.
It is nothing short of amazing how President Trump is able to accomplish as much as he does, in the face of the withering fire he takes daily from the fake news media and head-on opposition from the D.C. swamp-dwelling politicians and deep state bureaucrats.
If President Trump were not in charge, this battle may have already been decided, the U.S. and free world’s economies decimated and destroyed, with China now a powerhouse on its way to domination and control.
Thank God for the leadership of President Trump. I am confident America is about to see real action to fight and win this war. I hope and pray it will be accomplished without bombs and guns; it will be done with economic policies. Here are some ideas to get started.
The obvious first step is regaining control over our medical and pharmaceutical supply chain by manufacturing here in the USA under the umbrella of a “national security emergency.” Whatever it costs the government to insure our medical supply chain is “Made in America.” please do it Mr. President.
But then, let me suggest a bold second blow in this economic war, aimed directly at the heart of the Chinese economy. President Trump, should immediately announce to the world that 90 days from today, any apparel product that says “Made in China” will be turned away at US ports. Not charged a tariff, but actually refused entry.
The ignorant liberals and fake news media will scream “You can’t do that. Prices will skyrocket and hurt Americans, especially the poor.” This will just show how ignorant they are about the way business works in today’s world.
Within hours of that announcement, a roar of approval will rise from U.S.-friendly countries including India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala and Ecuador. Why 90 days? I’ve spoken to my friends in the clothing business. That is the time required for apparel manufacturers operating in China to pack up their sewing machines, move them to one of these other low-cost countries, hire and train employees, and begin manufacturing, without missing a beat.
The result will be millions of unemployed Chinese workers very unhappy with their brutal communist government. And praise for the USA from governments of countries where millions of new jobs have been created. China’s economy will be devastated. All without firing a shot.
Then there’s shot number three shot across China’s bow. President Trump must ask the American people to help, whenever possible, by buying “Made-in-America” products. Make that a new national security priority.
And finally, here’s economic shot number four: President Trump should tell the American people, from now on if any product says, “Made in China,” just say no. Simply look for an equivalent from the USA, or any other country.
What has just happened to America is a catastrophe- both medical and economic. We may not recover for years, or decades to come. All because China refused to warn us quickly enough, and once they did, they refused to tell us the true scope of the unfolding disaster. This fraud and cover-up has led to thousands of American deaths, perhaps over 100,000 to come, millions of jobs lost, and trillions in economic damage.
Clearly these are only the first blows in what will be a long, and hard-fought war. But President Trump, know the vast majority of the American people are behind you; we realize just how blessed we are to have you as our President at this moment; and we trust you will lead us to victory.
God bless President Trump. And God Bless America.
Wayne Allyn Root