Attorneys general for Missouri and Kansas Tuesday joined a lawsuit with 19 other AGs seeking to end the Biden administration’s lingering mask mandate on planes, trains and buses.
The lawsuit was filed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Besides Kansas and Missouri, the states joining the lawsuit are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
At the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation, the Transportation Security Administration recently extended mask mandates for planes, trains and airports until April 18. The extension flies in the face of mandates being dropped across the country as COVID-19 cases plummet.
“As mandates around the country are being lifted, continuing this federal transportation mask mandate makes no sense,” Kansas AG Derek Schmidt said in a statement. “I had hoped the Biden administration would let it expire, but the administration’s recent decisions to extend it for yet another month has left us little choice but to turn to the courts for relief.”
“People need to get from place to place without having their liberty infringed upon,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said in his own statement. “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’.”
Wilson noted that CEOs of 10 of the biggest airlines also have asked for the federal transportation mask mandate to end.
“Our industry has leaned into science at every turn,” the CEOs wrote in a letter to the White House. “However, much has changed since these measures were imposed and they no longer make sense in the current public health context.
“The high level of immunity in the U.S., availability of high-quality masks for those who wish to use them, hospital-grade cabin air, widespread vaccine availability and newly available therapeutics provide a strong foundation for the administration to lift the mask mandate and pre-departure testing requirements. We urge you to do so now.
“We are requesting this action not only for the benefit of the traveling public, but also for the thousands of airline employees charged with enforcing a patchwork of now-outdated regulations implemented in response to COVID-19.”
The Biden administration also is requiring “state-run conveyances” and transportation hubs to enforce the mask mandate, which Schmidt argues is a violation of states’ rights.