21 States File Lawsuit to Stop Federal Requirement of Mask Wearing on Public Transportation

As of Tuesday, March 29​, Florida became the twenty-first state that filed suit to halt the federal government’s requirement that people wear masks on planes, trains, ferries and other public transportations.

The other twenty states that filed were Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The group of 21 states led by Florida on Tuesday, asked a U.S. judge to block a federal COVID-19 mandate requiring masks.  The lawsuit is the latest in a series of recent legal challenges a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) public health order and Transportation Security Administrations (TSA) directive requiring masks, since the order was put in place in February of 2021.

The lawsuit announced by Florida’s Governor Ron Desantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody and filed in federal court in Tampa, Florida, contends that the mask mandate exceeds the authority of the CDC.

The Biden administration, earlier this month extended the transportation mask requirements through at least April 18 and is reviewing if they should be extended again.

Still, Florida and the other states are pressing on with the lawsuit, which comes amid a partisan divide over the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and issues of government control versus individual rights.

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.

On Wednesday, the chief executives of American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, and other carriers urged Biden to end the airplane mask mandate, which has resulted in significant friction on airplanes. The Federal Aviation Administration says since January 2021, there have been a record 6,900 unruly passenger incidents reported, and 70% involved masking rules.

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