TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — An appeal last week by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pumped the brakes on a judge's ruling against his ban on mask mandates. But, lawyers representing a group of Tampa Bay parents are asking to let that ruling go into effect.
Last month, Judge John Cooper decided the governor crossed his constitutional authority by issuing the executive order. The judge did not focus on whether he supported mask mandates but rather on which agencies have the power to make decisions about public health.
"The school district which adopts a policy such as a mask mandate is acting within discretion given to it by the legislature in the Florida Parents' Bill of Rights," Cooper said.
The judge would file his ruling on Thursday, Sept. 2. Later that evening, DeSantis' administration filed their appeal to the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee which triggered an automatic stay. That meant Cooper’s ruling would be invalid until the appellate court made its ruling.
Not too long after the appeal was filed, the same attorneys who fought DeSantis' executive order filed a motion to vacate the automatic stay. Cooper set a hearing for the motion at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
DeSantis and state education officials have threatened school districts with financial penalties if they adopt mask requirements without a parental opt-out provision.
Here in Tampa Bay, both Hillsborough County and Sarasota County school districts said they would keep their mask mandates in place.