U.S. Sen. Rick Scott filed legislation Thursday intended to block the federal government from requiring masks on public transportation.
The Stop Mandating Additional Requirements for Travel (SMART) Act would remove governmental mask requirements from airplanes, trains, and other forms of mass transit. It does not address those imposed by businesses themselves.
“Americans are working hard to recover from the devastation of COVID-19 and travel is critical to getting our economy fully re-opened. 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,” Scott contended.
“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. 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. I know Americans will do the right things to stay safe, and I hope my colleagues join me in passing this important bill.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instituted the current order effective Feb. 1. It has been ameliorated recently to allow for “enforcement discretion.”
“On June 10, 2021, CDC announced that, until it can amend the January 29, 2021, Order, it will exercise its enforcement discretion regarding certain aspects of the Order to not require that people wear masks while outdoors on conveyances or while outdoors on the premises of transportation hubs. CDC requests that Federal partners and any cooperating state and local entities exercise similar enforcement discretion,” the CDC asserted.
Scott’s bill comes as some Democrats are joining Republicans in wanting to put restrictions on the agency’s administrative authority. Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii was among those in a committee hearing this week who wondered if the CDC was being too “precautionary” with ongoing mask guidance, as Roll Call noted.