Rick Scott Moves to Prohibit Federal Government from Mandating Masks on Public Transportation

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Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced legislation on Thursday that would prohibit the federal government from mandating masks on public transportation.

The legislation, the Stop Mandating Additional Requirements for Travel (SMART) Actwould “terminate the order requiring persons to wear masks while on conveyances and at transportation hubs.”

“Americans are working hard to recover from the devastation of COVID-19 and travel is critical to getting our economy fully reopened,” Scott said in a statement.

“Since the start of the pandemic, I have supported wearing a mask to protect yourself and others. Now, the science has shown we can change course, and mask mandates are being lifted across the country,” he continued.

“Just like the federal government should not be in the business of requiring Americans to turn over their vaccination records, it should not be mandating that people wear masks on public transportation,” he continued, noting that the science “just doesn’t support keeping this policy in place.”

“We have to listen to the science and work together to move America forward,” the Florida senator added. “I know Americans will do the right things to stay safe, and I hope my colleagues join me in passing this important bill.”

Following the executive action by President Biden requiring masks to be worn on public modes of transportation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an order “requiring the wearing of masks by people on public transportation conveyances or on the premises of transportation hubs to prevent spread of the virus that causes COVID-19,” which went into effect February 1st.

But in April, the Biden administration extended its federal mask mandate to September 13. It was set to expire May 11.

According to Roll Call, “in a markup of rail and safety legislation on Wednesday, the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee rejected along party lines an amendment introduced by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., that would end the mandate,” but Democrat Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) also expressed his dissatisfaction with the federal mask requirement, suggesting a “sense of the Senate” resolution which would press the Biden administration “reconsider its rule.”

“Sometimes they move slowly,” Schatz said of the government agencies crafting the guidance. “Sometimes they’re a little too precautionary.”

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