Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez introduced a legislative proposal late on Thursday that would prevent the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) from enforcing the airplane mask mandate that has been in effect since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gimenez’s “America Reopens Act” would prevent any federal agency or entity that receives federal funding from requiring vaccination, testing, or masking for travelers if they are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. The legislation would effectively strike down the TSA policy that requires masking on airplanes, trains, and subways. The TSA order was recently extended to last through April 18. Another extension is in the realm of possibilities as cases slowly tick upwards again.
Gimenez’s proposal comes just a week after Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody announced that Florida is leading 20 other states in an effort to legally challenge the Biden administration’s public transportation mask mandate that includes airplanes, trains, and rideshare vehicles.
“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,” said DeSantis. “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.”
Moody and joining states argue that the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) mandate exceeds the agency’s authority and interferes with state laws banning forced masking. Florida’s administration last year challenged Biden in a similar lawsuit regarding the enforcement of workplace vaccine mandates.
“President Biden’s shortsighted, heavy-handed and unlawful travel policies are frustrating travelers and causing chaos on public transportation,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “It’s long past time to alleviate some of the pressure on travelers and those working in the travel industry by immediately ending Biden’s unlawful public transportation mandates. I’m proud to stand with Governor DeSantis and to lead my fellow Attorneys General in this multistate action to end the forced masking of travelers in the U.S.”
In the event that the lawsuit is successful, Gimenez’s proposal will be ready to be placed into law, should legislators vote to do so, in order to prevent similar mandates from being placed in the future.