Florida legislature would have to approve $100 vaccine incentive, DeSantis says

President Joe Biden called on state and local governments to draw from COVID-19 relief funds to give $100 to newly vaccinated people in an effort to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates. 

The president said governments can pull from their State and Local Recovery Funds issued through the American Rescue Plan, which allocated $350 billion to help local governments respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's office said Thursday that he does not have the power to "unilaterally expend funds from the [State Fiscal Recovery Funds] SFRF, because any expenditure of those funds would require an appropriation by the legislature."

According to the governor's office, appropriations made from the SFRF for the current 2021-2022 Fiscal Year are outlined in Section 152 of the General Appropriations Act and there are no funds appropriated for a vaccine incentive program. 

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The governor's office also said DeSantis is not considering a vaccine lottery "because that would be a waste of taxpayer dollars." 

DeSantis' office reiterated that vaccines work to prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19 and vaccines are free of charge and widely available throughout the state. 

"Governor DeSantis has consistently encouraged Floridians, especially those in high-risk groups, to get the vaccine. They are safe and effective for the majority of people," the governor's office said.

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