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November 8, 2021

ICYMI: Reps. Kirkpatrick, Frankel, Wasserman Schultz, Crist, Deutch, Gallego, Garcia, Johnson, Soto, Veasey Introduce Legislation to Defend Businesses, Local Governments that Implement Commonsense COVID-19 Safety Measures

Washington, DC – Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Darren Soto (FL-09), and Marc Veasey (TX-33) introduced the Let Our Cities And Local businesses Help Employees Achieve Long-Term Health Act (LOCAL HEALTH) Act. This bill would protect the ability of local governments, agencies, and private businesses to implement common sense public health and safety measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. This includes requirements such as social distancing, masks, vaccination, and testing.

“The only way we are going to recover from this pandemic is by implementing smart and science-driven mitigation efforts, which is exactly what so many of our local communities have had to step up and do,” said.” Rep. Kirkpatrick. “With Arizona top of mind, this legislation is especially personal and important, and I am proud to support a bill that affirms the right of public and private employers to be leaders on COVID-19 mitigation efforts.”

“We should not just stand by and let Governors put politics over the health and safety of our communities by restricting critical tools like vaccines and masks,” said Rep. Frankel. “Local governments, agencies, and private businesses in our communities that want to follow CDC guidelines should be supported not punished. This bill would protect them from dangerous state overreach that we’ve been seeing across the country, including in my home state of Florida.”

“Business owners and school leaders need the flexibility to adopt smart, CDC-backed pandemic measures to keep children, customers and all our residents safe,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz.“When authoritarian governors bully mom-and-pop shops and educators into risking people’s health or hurting their bottom lines, we need added protections. Congresswoman Frankel’s bill does that, and Florida needs it. Our governor handcuffs and threatens businesses and local communities just for adopting common-sense safety measures for face coverings, vaccines and social distancing. People and businesses deserve security and flexibility, and know-nothing, overreaching governors need to stop jeopardizing our public health.”

“It’s simple. If a business wants to say no shirt, no shoes, no vax, no service – they should be able to. If a parent or local school board wants to follow expert advice to keep children safe, healthy, and in school – they should be able to,”said Rep. Crist. “No Governor should defund our public schools just because parents and school boards are doing what they can to keep schools open and safe. Why does Governor DeSantis think he knows better than Florida parents and the school boards they elect? It’s about respect. I’m proud to support legislation that keeps local decision-making where it belongs: locally. We’re here to give school boards, parents, and business owners back their power that Governor DeSantis is taking away.”

“We all want to experience life as normal. Ensuring communities are able implement the public health measures they need to keep people safe, without threats of retaliation from their state governments, is how we move toward that,” said Rep. Deutch. “School districts, cities, and businesses in my district and across Florida have faced millions of dollars in bogus fines for implementing mask and vaccine mandates to keep children, residents, employees, and customers safe from COVID-19. Enough is enough. Thank you to my friend and colleague, Representative Lois Frankel, for her work on this important bill.”

“Arizona is still very much in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, so we need to make sure that schools, businesses, and local governments feel empowered to protect themselves, their employees, and their constituents,”said Rep. Gallego. “Governor Ducey’s record of political grandstanding against public health guidance only hurts Arizonans’ health and economic wellbeing. Arizonans can’t afford for our state to keep playing politics with a pandemic. That’s why I’m proud to be a leader on the LOCAL HEALTH Act to give school districts, local governments, and businesses the protection they need to keep people healthy and help end this pandemic.”

“We have the tools we need to end the Coronavirus pandemic, but many politicians in GOP-controlled state governments are putting the public’s health at risk for political gain and tying business owners’ hands through overbearing restrictions on common-sense safety measures such as mask mandates,” said. Rep. Garcia. “The LOCAL Health Act gives businesses the freedom they need to provide their employers and customers with a safe environment that will help America to get back to work.”

“I support Rep. Frankel’s LOCAL Health Act because people, especially essential frontline workers, need protection from politicians who put politics ahead of public health,” said Rep. Johnson.“Vulnerable people should not be put at risk because state officials ban employers from implementing Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. People have a right to be safe in their workspaces and in public settings, and this commonsense legislation will help accomplish that objective. Politicians should be the first to help stop the spread of COVID-19, which has killed more than 750,000 Americans. We must pursue policies that protect as many people as possible.”

“Time and time again, we have seen that masks, vaccines, and social distancing save lives,” said Rep. Soto. “It is dangerous for the governor to threaten businesses and continue to put politics over the safety of Floridians. The LOCAL HEALTH Act will prevent his policies from getting in the way and allow businesses to make choices that consider public health safety measures.”

“We must defend the rights of local businesses to protect employees, especially in states that are basing public safety on politics rather than science,” said Rep Veasey. “That is why I am proud to co-lead Rep. Frankel’s legislation, which will allow employers to enact commonsense safety measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and get our economy back on the right track.”

The LOCAL HEALTH Act would supersede any state law that limits local governments, agencies, and private businesses from implementing safety precautions. The bill makes it clear that employers may take measures to protect employees and patrons from COVID-19 including through vaccine and masking requirements.

Full text of the legislation can be found here.


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