Gov. DeSantis announces lawsuit against Biden Administration’s transportation mask mandate

DeSantis announced suit along with Attorney General Ashley Moody in Tallahassee.

Ron DeSantis. (The Florida Channel)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody announced a lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s transportation mask mandate Tuesday morning in Tallahassee.

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“You still have this federal rule that was just extended, forcing people to wear masks on airplanes,” DeSantis said. “And it’s turned the airlines into having to police this. It’s created a lot of unruly passenger situations because it’s so frustrating for people. And so this is something that I’ve been opposed to for a long time.”

Florida is joined in the suit by 20 other states.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Tampa, Florida, contends that the mask mandate exceeds the authority of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is well past time to get rid of this unnecessary mandate and get back to normal life,” DeSantis said.

A rule of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, effective Feb. 1, 2021, requires “the wearing of masks by people on public transportation conveyances or on the premises of transportation hubs,” according to the agency website. The rule has been relaxed somewhat, to end requirements for certain buses and so forth, but was recently extended until at least April 18 for domestic and international travel in general.

The lawsuit seeks to immediately halt the CDC travel mask rule and asks for costs and attorneys’ fees. There have been similar lawsuits filed in individual states before this latest one.

Besides Florida, the states filing the new travel mask lawsuit as of Tuesday were:

— Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

This comes one day after DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill banning topics of sexual identity from classroom discussion in kindergarten through third grade, and requiring such conversations to be “age-appropriate” in successive grades.

“We have seen curriculum embedded for very, very young children — classroom materials about sexuality and woke gender ideology. We’ve seen libraries that have clearly inappropriate, pornographic materials for very young kids. And we’ve seen services that were given to students without the consent or even knowledge of their parents across the country and we — unfortunately, that’s happened here in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said prior to signing the bill.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.