Florida Dems blast Ron DeSantis ‘unconstitutional,’ ‘authoritarian’ school mask mandate ban
Image via AP.

Ron DeSantis
'It very much speaks to a Trumpian (approach), which this country has rejected for a reason.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis violated the Florida Constitution when he issued an executive order last month forbidding local school districts from mandating masks in classrooms, several Democratic state lawmakers charged Tuesday.

DeSantis didn’t just overreach his executive authority, Reps. Robin Bartleman of Weston, Fentrice Driskell of Tampa, Anna Eskamani of Orlando and Mike Grieco of Miami Beach said, he defied the will of the people.

“Here in Orange County our folks are really frustrated by the Governor’s authoritarian actions,” Eskamani said. “It’s immature. It’s not what he was elected to do, and it very much speaks to a Trumpian (approach), which this country has rejected for a reason.”

Eskamani’s comments came during a Zoom conference on DeSantis’ executive order and his  threat to withhold pay from school administrators who flout it. She wasn’t alone in characterizing the move as childish.

“It is time for everybody to just kind of grow up, which is … ironic when we’re talking about adults protecting children,” Grieco said. “I can’t believe some of the rhetoric that I’m seeing not just coming from the public but coming from the elected officials and the administration and the bureaucrats throughout the state of Florida. It’s pretty gross.”

It’s also illegal, they agreed.

“There’s a constitutional conflict here, as the Florida Constitution gives the right to run local school districts to the local school board,” Driskell said. “The Governor is overstepping his bounds.”

Article 9, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution says county school boards “shall operate, control and supervise all free public schools within the school districts,” and DeSantis’ order has prevented school boards from doing that, said Greico, who vowed to skip his government paycheck if DeSantis follows through on his threat to withhold pay from school administrators.

Further, as the state’s top executive official, he said, DeSantis’ job is to uphold the constitution, not sign legislation and executive orders that run afoul of it.

“It’s the wrong way to govern, to pass laws and pass rules and to pass executive orders where they are unconstitutional,” he said. “It’s un-American.”

It’s also not what most Florida voters want. Last week, a survey by St. Pete Polls found more than 62% of likely voters in the state think schools should require all children to wear masks.

But according to Eskamani, adhering to the will of the people isn’t a big concern for DeSantis, whose stances against pandemic-driven business closures, mask mandates and so-called critical race theory curricula, among other subjects, have made him a darling of the GOP base.

“The fact that Gov. DeSantis was fundraising in Michigan last week, also speaking at events across the country, including even in Nebraska, really speaks to how the Governor is setting himself up for a national stage,” she said. “That is such a disservice to the people of Florida who need leadership here and need leadership now.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at Jess[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • father gabriel

    August 10, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    IN NYC

    “Ambidexterity” causing a snesation
    vaccination battle. Covid, politics, our world

    “all the world s a stage”

  • Alex

    August 10, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    Electing for Governor a far right founding member of the freedom caucus freaks, a racist, conspiracy theorist, Trump worshipper, and all around flaming idiot turned out bad Florida?

    Who could’ve known?

  • Tom

    August 11, 2021 at 8:23 am

    DeSantis is overreaching by banning mask mandates, but Biden is perfectly ok to push a mandate and that’s not overreach. Hypocritical dems at their best!

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 11, 2021 at 9:38 am

    Yo truth and facts to protect our children!!!!! Duffus Desantis is willingly slaughtering Our Children!!!! Duffus Desantis is a bully and our children shall pay for his bs! Lock him up! Get out Desantis!

  • Conservative always

    August 11, 2021 at 10:27 am

    I guess the D’s missed the hundreds of parents throughout the State who showed up at school board meetings demanding the end of mask mandates. Thank you Governor DeSantis for letting the PARENTS decide what is best for their children v. the government.

    • Alex

      August 11, 2021 at 12:36 pm

      Weren’t you also telling us attendance at Trump rallies showed he would win?

      Oh, but he did actually win, you just can’t find a single shred of credible evidence of fraud right?

      Can I get a MAGA or two?

  • Ron Ogden

    August 11, 2021 at 11:29 am

    The authoritarians here are the Democrats, the big-government, we know more than you mere parents, “these are our children” insect-authority tyrants who think they have a divine right and the moral capacity to tell us how our children are going to live. The children belong to the parents–not the bureaucrats, and DeSantis is a hero for standing up for them, particularly in the face of the fear-mongering news media.

    • Alex

      August 11, 2021 at 12:32 pm

      Parents own kids?

      That must mean you can sell them right?

      Free enterprise and all that?

Comments are closed.


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