Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis pardoned any lingering financial penalties left over from the pandemic on Wednesday, including one from a Broward County gym owner who at one point also faced potential jail time.
"This action is necessary so we can recover," DeSantis said, according to the Miami Herald, "have a good transition to our normal operations, and also, just a recognition that a lot of this stuff was way, way overboard."
The measure was made under the agreement of the governor and the state clemency board's two Republican members, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. However, the decision didn't come without some resistance; Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is running against DeSantis in 2022, opposed the measure.
"I voted today to uphold our laws, while our so-called pro-law-enforcement governor is actively encouraging people to break the law with politically motivated stunts like this," Fried said in a separate statement. "We have laws for a reason. We may not agree with all of them, but we are obligated to follow them as a price of a civil society."
After the motion, the governor introduced, Jillian and Mike Carnevale, the owner of a gym, Fitness1440 in Plantation, who faced penalties for keeping their doors open during the pandemic lockdown.
DeSantis decried the county's rules publicly as "unwarranted, unreasonable restrictions on their business," and that the Carnevales were punished for exercising their "common sense" and refusing to "kowtow" to the county's mandates.
"They were actually pending criminal prosecution in a court," DeSantis added. "Imagine, we see all these criminal activities that are actually going on that we need to be stronger on and yet we are wasting time on someone who is owning a gym."
The governor's action on Wednesday was a continuation of efforts to unburden those penalized due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
In March, DeSantis issued an executive order halting the collection of fines and fees imposed on people or businesses that violated COVID-19 ordinances. The governor concluded the conference by stating, "Let's focus on the real criminals, and let's make sure that is where our effort is."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.