A judge has ruled a ban on mask mandates violates the Parents’ Bill of Rights. But the Senator behind the state law says that reading goes against legislative intent.
“We put all health care decisions in the hands of the parent,” said Sen. Ray Rodrigues, who sponsored the Parents’ Bill of Rights and carried it to passage this year.
Rodrigues was at DeSantis’ side at both of those events. He said then the legislation ought to provide a solid foundation for the Governor’s direction.
“It absolutely provides the ability for the executive order to both the Department of Education and the Department of Health,” Rodrigues told Florida Politics then. “That’s a decision that should be up to the parents.”
In what could foreshadow the contents of an imminent appeal to the ruling, many of the architects for the Parents Bill of Rights, which was debated over three sessions, see something different in the law than Judge John Cooper found.
Cooper noted the law includes provisions letting school districts override the will of parents in a public health emergency.
“The defendants do not have authority under this law to a blanket mandatory ban against a facemask policy that does not provide a parental opt out,” Cooper said.
But Bridget Ziegler, a Sarasota School Board member opposed to mandates and who helped craft the Parents’ Bill of Rights, said that’s a reading of the law contrary to framers’ intent.
“It’s pretty wild to see a ruling on a law that is literally titled The Parents’ Bill of Rights attempt to provide additional protections for the government over parents,” she said.
“While I am confident this ruling will be overturned in appeal, no matter the outcome, all of this underscores just how important it is to be engaged in your child’s education and vote in the August school board elections for those who will protect your parental rights and our children’s education.”