By BRETT ROWLAND
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – Twenty-one states have filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s continued mask mandate on public transportation, including on airplanes.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody are leading the effort. Mr. Moody filed the suit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida along with 20 other attorneys general. Gov. DeSantis said the mask mandate was misguided and heavy-handed.
“Florida has led the nation in standing up to misguided federal government policies and fighting back against heavy-handed mandates that have no scientific backing,” Gov. DeSantis said in a statement. “If politicians and celebrities can attend the Super Bowl unmasked, every U.S. citizen should have the right to fly unmasked. It is well past time to get rid of this unnecessary mandate and get back to normal life.”
The complaint seeks to end the mask mandate on public transportation. It also seeks to establish a permanent injunction against enforcement of the mandate.
The existing CDC order, which has been in place for over a year, was set to expire on March 18. The CDC extended the order until April 18, according to the complaint.
In the complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, the attorneys general argue the CDC’s mask mandate exceeds the agency’s authority.
In addition to Florida, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia have joined the legal challenge.
“People need to get from place to place without having their liberty infringed upon,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a statement. “The chief executives of the major airlines are calling on President Biden to allow the mask mandate at airports and on planes to expire next month and they know what’s best for their passengers and employees. Even the president himself said in his State of the Union address a few weeks ago that, ‘COVID-19 need no longer control our lives.’ ”