Mediation Talks Between Florida, CDC Unsuccessful in Cruise Ship Battle

People boarding a cruise ship
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Mediation talks between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state of Florida have been unsuccessful, as the federal agency and the state duke it out in court over who controls the cruise ship industry’s return to business as usual.

“Settlement talks have ended in the legal battle between Florida and the federal government about restrictions on the cruise-ship industry,” according to WKMG. “U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli, who has served as a mediator, said in a court filing Friday that a settlement conference was unsuccessful.”

State Attorney General Ashley Moody filed the lawsuit in federal court in April on behalf of the Sunshine State, seeking an injunction that would prevent the CDC from having any power over the cruise ship industry, which is looking to get back in business after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Most industries are now back to business, and it is long past time for the rest to follow suit,” that lawsuit said. “The cruise industry in Florida cannot do so. It has been locked down for over a year. And this lockdown was not enacted pursuant to the state’s police power, by the United States Congress, or even by the politically accountable president. Rather, it was imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pursuant to a limited delegation from Congress to inspect and disinfect property and animals.”

According to the WKMG report, U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday had not ruled on whether to grant that injunction as of Friday evening.

“Despite the … good faith and concerted efforts, the settlement discussions have concluded and the parties have reached an impasse,” the filing from the mediation said.

The CDC has ordered a phased reopening of the cruise ship industry. It says that it expects cruise lines to be fully up and running again by mid-summer, a tentative date that has been moved up since the state filed the lawsuit against the federal agency.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who has been fighting against some of the cruise lines over the issue of vaccine passports, is fighting this time on behalf of those same cruise lines.

“We believe that it is time for us to vindicate the state’s rights and the rights of the state in court and also vindicate the livelihoods of the tens of thousands of Floridians who depend on this industry,” he said when the lawsuit was filed. “Help is on the way. We’re going to keep at this until we finally get it open.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].

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