Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has filed an appeal to reinstate a stay on Florida’s mask mandate ban. The filing was an emergency order after Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper lifted a stay after the state’s appeal, permitting school districts to impose mask mandates.
Cooper was the judge who struck down DeSantis’ mask mandate ban last month, siding with parents who have sued to have their districts be permitted to impose a mandate.
The back-and-forth between DeSantis and the attorneys for the school districts has been a weeks-long process. After the law was initially struck down, the state appealed the ruling insisting the rights of parents ought to be maintained.
Then three school districts filed a challenge with the Florida Department of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) over the validity of the state’s rule, not the constitutionality of Florida law.
On Wednesday, Cooper followed up the state’s initial appeal by lifting an automatic stay. Now, DeSantis is seeking the stay to be reinstated.
“If you look at my record, it’s not somebody who runs all over the place, ruling against the governor,” Cooper said. “What it is, I think, is a record of somebody who tries to figure out what the law is and rule according to the law. Because that’s my job. I’m not a policymaker.”
Attorneys for DeSantis and the state pushed back against Cooper’s Wednesday ruling, saying the parent’s rights should not be infringed upon by local school districts.
“According to its plain terms, the Parents’ Bill of Rights limits governmental authority and protects the inherent rights of parents,” the motion said. “Thus, the governor could not possibly have violated the Parents’ Bill of Rights by protecting parents’ rights. Most assuredly, the Parents’ Bill of Rights does not grant any authority to local school districts that did not previously exist.”
DeSantis’s team also noted the ban, and seeking to have the stay reinstated, does not ban any student from continuing to wear a mask at school.
“Presently, there are no active policies in any school district that prohibit students from wearing masks,” the lawyers said. “All of Appellees’ children remain free to wear masks. Maintaining the automatic stay will not prohibit Appellees from masking their children.”
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