Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday announced a lawsuit by 21 states seeking to end federal masking mandates for air travel and public transportation.
“It is well past time to get rid of this unnecessary mandate and get back to normal life,” DeSantis said at a press conference announcing the legal action against the Biden administration.
“It’s amazing that this has gone on as long as it has,” the governor said.
The Transportation Security Administration said earlier this month that the mandate would be extended to April 18.
The Centers for Disease Control recommended the move, arguing that travel posed a heightened risk of infection.
DeSantis blasted that decision, asserting that the masking requirements were applied arbitrarily and no longer rooted in science.
The Florida governor noted that masks are no longer required at other mass gatherings, including the recent Super Bowl in Los Angeles.
DeSantis also contended that the face covering rules on planes and in transportation hubs were stunting travel and tourism.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody maintained Tuesday that the ongoing mandates would not hold up to judicial scrutiny.
“This order is completely outside the bounds of the scope of federal power as we have argued successfully in numerous other cases,” she said.
The suit, filed in the Middle District of Florida, will ask a judge to block enforcement of the federal mandate.
Asked why the suit was necessary given the ongoing rollback of masking mandates, DeSantis said he wanted to guard against future resumptions.
“As we get into next fall and winter, there could be an attempt to reimpose it,” he said.