By Greg Wallace and Shawna Mizelle, CNN
(CNN) – A group of 21 states, along with pilot and flight attendant groups, are asking federal courts to permanently end the Biden administration’s federal transport mask mandate, less than three weeks before its expiry.
The latest lawsuit, led by Florida and joined by 20 other states, asks a federal court in Florida to “issue a permanent injunction restraining the defendants from enforcing the mask warrant.” The states’ claims include that the policy is an abuse of federal emergency powers.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. The Transportation Security Administration declined to comment.
The lawsuit marks another push by the country’s governors to reject President Joe Biden’s federal public health order, which requires travelers to wear masks on planes, buses, trains and boats, as well as at airports. and other transport hubs. Texas last month filed a separate lawsuit in a long-running bid to drop the president’s Covid-19 health measure.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit that “it’s high time to get rid of this unnecessary mandate and get back to normal life.”
States joining Florida in this effort include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia. .
Separately, airline employee groups also sued the administration this month to prevent the mask requirement from ever being reimposed.
The lawsuits filed by 10 pilots and nine flight attendants ask the courts, in identical language, to issue a “permanent injunction restraining the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services from reissuing a mask warrant for n any sector of society since Congress has never approved this.” The government has yet to file responses to the lawsuits.
The CEOs of the nation’s largest airlines and the union representing flight attendants at Southwest Airlines have also urged the Biden administration to lift the measure.
The mandate remains in place until April 18 after the administration issued a one-month extension.
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