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Kansas AG files lawsuit to end federal COVID-19 mask mandate on public transportation

FILE - Topeka Metro bus operator, Michelle Brown, goes above and beyond her job.
FILE - Topeka Metro bus operator, Michelle Brown, goes above and beyond her job.(WIBW)
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 12:30 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has filed another federal lawsuit - this time to fight COVID-19 mask mandates on public transportation.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says on Tuesday, March 29, he filed a federal lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s Administration which seeks to end the continued enforcement of the COVID-19 mask mandate on public transportation. ag

Schmidt noted even states with stringent COVID policies have lifted their indoor mask mandates.

The Kansas AG joined 20 others to file the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. They argue the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask mandate exceeds its authority to mandate health regulations - including requirements for those who show no signs of infection.

Schmidt said the mandate covers those who use public transportation, including airports, buses and railways, requiring them to wear a face mask to prevent the spread of the virus.

“As mandates around the country are being lifted, continuing this federal transportation mask mandate makes no sense,” Schmidt said. “I had hoped the Biden administration would let it expire, but the administration’s recent decisions to extend it for yet another month has left us little choice but to turn to the courts for relief.”

The AG noted the complaint highlights the CDC’s rule as arbitrary and capricious, required notice and comment that was not given before implementation and did not consider actions states had already taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

Schmidt also said the federal mandate requires state-run hubs to affirmatively enforce the rule, which violates the anti-commandeering doctrine.

The AG has challenged various federal mandates since the fall of 2021 when the administration announced several vaccine and mask mandates as part of its approach to combat COVID-19. A lawsuit to block the Head Start mandate has been issued a preliminary injunction by a federal judge in Louisiana, which prohibits the implementation of the mandate in Kansas. This case is still pending in the federal district court.

Schmidt said he has brought legal challenges to three other Biden mandates as well. He said the OSHA mandate was blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court, while the federal contractor mandate has been blocked by a federal appeals court and the challenge to the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers remains in litigation in federal courts after the Supreme Court declined to temporarily block it.

To read a full copy of the public transportation lawsuit, click HERE.

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