Florida lawmakers look to exempt churches from future emergency orders

Two Republican lawmakers are seeking to shield religious services from being shut down because of state emergency orders.

Rep. Nick DiCeglie, R-Indian Rocks Beach, on Thursday filed a proposal (HB 215) for the 2022 legislative session seeking to put into law that an emergency order “may not expressly prohibit a religious institution from conducting regular religious services or activities.” Sen. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, filed an identical Senate version (SB 254) last week.

The bills come after controversies in some parts of the country about restrictions on religious services to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In a prepared statement Thursday, DiCeglie said the proposal would “prevent government from infringing on the rights of Floridians in the years to come, even in times of uncertainty and crisis.” The 2022 legislative session will start Jan. 11.

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