Last Call for 9.1.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Attorney General Ashley Moody on Wednesday waded into the ongoing mask mandate fight between school districts and the state.

Moody’s take: Flouting the executive order banning mandates is breaking the law.

She made her stance known through an advisory opinion issued in response to an inquiry from the Suwannee County School District, which asked whether a district could depart from state law and emergency rules to issue a mask mandate.

Moody said that districts must comply because the rules haven’t been deemed invalid by the courts.

“It is my opinion that the District must comply with Rule 64DER21-12 and any other applicable authorities unless and until the judiciary declares them invalid,” Moody wrote.

Indeed, while Circuit Court Judge John Cooper did issue an oral decision invalidating Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order, he hasn’t yet submitted a written order.

Thus, the order stands. For now, at least — Cooper is expected to submit his written order as soon as today.

Still, the Education Department seized on Moody’s advisory opinion and took another stab at forcing districts to comply.

“The judiciary has not declared the rule to be invalid, and as such, this advisory opinion clearly states that multiple school districts are breaking the law by violating parents’ rights,” Education Department spokesman Jared Ochs said in a statement.

“Today, the Department is urging every school district that has mandated masks without an opt-out to promptly change its policies and comply with Florida’s rules and laws.”

Evening Reads

Long-haulers are fighting for their future” via Ed Yong of The Atlantic

Why can’t America fix its COVID-19 testing problems?” via Dylan Scott of Vox

How the delta variant stole Christmas: Empty shelves, long waits — and yes, higher prices” via Abha Bhattarai of The Washington Post

Is the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan the end of the American Empire?” via Jon Lee Anderson of The New Yorker

George W. Bush’s wars are now over. He retreated a while ago.” via Ben Terris of The Washington Post

Texas enforces restrictive abortion ban; Florida advocates say it’s ‘part of a national agenda’” via Issac Morgan of the Florida Phoenix

The legal minds who tried to overturn the election for Donald Trump are being welcomed back into polite society” via Richard L. Hasen of Slate

‘I helped destroy people’” via Janet Reitman of The New York Times

Fleeing disaster is hard. Climate change is making it harder.” via Matt Simon of WIRED

’This is bigger than football’: growing up with Colin Kaepernick” via Jimmie Briggs of Vanity Fair

One night on the fire lines at Lake Tahoe” via Thomas Fuller of The New York Times

Quote of the Day

“We keep talking about these numbers that I report every single day, and there just needs to be a time when we sit back and we recognize how many of our fellow Floridians we have lost to this war.” — Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, hosting a moment of silence to remember the Floridians who have died from COVID-19.

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