Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, pictured in February, on Tuesday announced that Florida and 20 other states filed a lawsuit against the federal government in an attempt to reverse a mask mandate for transportation hubs and airplanes. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo
March 29 (UPI) -- Florida and 20 other states on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration in an attempt to reverse a federal mask mandate at transportation hubs and on airplanes.
The announcement was made at a news conference held by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who said the mandate is hurting tourism in his state.
"If politicians and celebrities can attend the Super Bowl unmasked, every U.S. citizen should have the right to fly unmasked," DeSantis said in prepared remarks. "It is well past time to get rid of this unnecessary mandate and get back to normal life."
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said at the news conference that the continuing federal order "is completely outside the bounds of the scope of federal power."
She added that it's unfair to expect employees in the transportation industry to enforce the wearing of masks.
"This (mandate) must be lifted," she said.
Federal regulators on March 10 said that the mask mandate requiring all passengers to wear masks on commercial flights was being extended until at least mid-April.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Transportation Security Administration made the announcement. The mandate had been set to expire on March 18, but the extension now puts that deadline on April 18.
Moody said that almost 75 percent of unruly and sometimes violent incidents that have occurred on airplanes over the past two years stem from the mandate. The Federal Aviation Administration in mid-February said there were 324 airline incidents thus far in 2022 directly related to masks.
The following states joined Florida in the complaint: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.