DeSantis to Sign ‘Religious Services Essential’ Bill

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign legislation to grant places of worship the right to keep doors open during states of emergency.Florida bill SB 254, which was approved by the Senate in January, would officially designate religious services as being essential and therefore allow houses of worship, including churches, to remain open and host public gatherings in the event of a public emergency or disaster. The governor received the measure on June 17 and has until June 30 to act on it.
“An emergency order authorized by this part may not directly or indirectly prohibit religious services or activities,” the bill states.
It adds that the only circumstance of a shutdown is “in an emergency order which applies uniformly to all entities in the affected jurisdiction [and] may be applied to 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.”
If signed into law by DeSantis, the provisions would take effec …

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