Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book is slamming Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ announcement Friday that he’ll ban school mask mandates via executive order.
“The Governor’s continued decision-making through a hyper-partisan political agenda is reckless and duplicitous because when it comes to women having the choice to make decisions about their health care, he blocks it,” Book said via a written statement. “When it comes to businesses having the choice to protect people’s health through proof of vaccination, he blocks it.”
DeSantis had threatened to call a Special Session to ensure students are not forced to wear masks during the upcoming school year, despite a rapidly surging COVID-19 caseload courtesy of the delta variant. DeSantis and his team have cited the low number of children severely impacted by COVID-19.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, recently reevaluated its stance and recommended schools begin the year with mask mandates in high transmission areas. Health officials worry about the rapid spread of the delta variant, which can jump from students to immunocompromised individuals. The continued spread of COVID-19 also presents a threat the virus can continue to mutate into a more deadly variant.
The Broward County School Board recently announced its mandate would stay in place, while Palm Beach County is considering doing the same. Rather than convincing Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls to move forward with a Special Session, however, DeSantis says he’ll use an executive order to stop those school districts.
DeSantis says his authority to make such a move comes via powers granted under the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which was signed into law after the 2021 Legislative Session.
Book, who took over as Senate Democratic Leader earlier this year, says her caucus is rejecting the move.
“We believe freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility are paramount to our democracy and should always be protected, which is why trusting local governments to make decisions that protect the health care of our children is critical,” Book added in her Friday statement.
“We also believe in science, and the numbers don’t lie: data shows COVID-19 surging in our communities with hospitalizations of younger residents on the rise. With 1 in 5 COVID cases nationwide originating in the state of Florida, we urge the Governor to stop grandstanding and start leading.”
Without a legislative majority, it’s unlikely Democrats will be able to challenge the Governor’s authority during next year’s Session or with a Special Session of their own. Still, Book wasn’t the only South Florida Democrat to take shots at the Governor’s announcement.
“Sooo, I don’t have the right to choose to smoke a cigarette indoors but others have the right to choose to risk my son’s health. Politicizing life and death is not a good look,” said Rep. Mike Grieco on Twitter.
In another post, he added, “I’m glad I was a drama geek in high school … prepared me well for our state’s political theater, all at the cost of preventable Floridians’ deaths.”
Parts of South Florida are seeing its highest COVID-19 case positivity rates since last summer. Hospitals are also feeling an impact, though deaths have not yet risen to last year’s sky-high levels thanks to the vaccines.
July 30, 2021 at 3:04 pm
Democrats in a nutshell: to her, personal and family freedom of choice is “reckless and duplicitous.” To D’s the only personal choices that aren’t reckless and duplicitous involved drugs or sex–nothing else.
July 30, 2021 at 4:05 pm
You are right Lauren. What I wish we had was an executive order banning Ron DeSantis ! He has got to be the biggest jackass ever to hold political office anywhere at any time. Can’t wait until next year when I vote for anybody who runs against him.
July 30, 2021 at 5:53 pm
I doubt you are even registered to vote, troll. Are you paid to post this rubbish?
July 31, 2021 at 10:44 am
She is absolutely right!! Decisions on masks should be made by locally elected school boards and local government elected officials!! DaSantis is delusional and only cares about being reelected and running for President. And I am a Republican, but ashamed of the leaership in Tallahassee and Washington!
What’s even worse, all of the Republican legislators have “drank the DeSantis Koolaid” and following him lock step!!
God help us!!!
July 31, 2021 at 5:59 pm
You got that right Harold !!!!! The response to the virus turned out to be President Trump’s undoing. Now let’s hope the same will lead to Emperor DeSantis’ undoing. Can’t wait till next year to vote for anybody who runs against the idiot, and I mean ANYBODY, and that comes from a long time Republican dating back to the days when Claude Kirk was in Tallahassee.
August 2, 2021 at 9:09 pm
Completely agree. I am a life long Republican, who is disgusted with the current Republican party. The Republican party is too reliant on the Christian right. They care so much about abortion and not the rest of the Republican beliefs. Trump added more to the deficit in his 1st years, than Obama in his last 3 years. Balance the budget and reduce the deficit. Less government, then less taxes, not vice-versa.
August 3, 2021 at 10:20 am
Putting children in danger, no mask in school, is child abuse. Just like leaving your child in a hot car to die. If the child gets the virus and dies the person who took their mask is an abuser.
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