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Governor DeSantis to sign 'essential' bill delimiting religious services

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

During a state of emergency, open doors will be allowed at places of worship under a bill signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

During public emergencies or disasters, Florida bill SB 254, which passed the Senate this January, would declare religious services to be essential, allowing houses of worship, including churches, to remain open and host public gatherings. Until June 30, the governor has to act on the bill after receiving it last Friday.

The bill states that emergency orders cannot directly or indirectly prohibit religious services or activities.

The provision adds that a shutdown can be enacted "in the event of an emergency order affecting all entities in the affected jurisdiction [and] may be used by a religious institution if the provision is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest."

22 June 2022


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