Florida Democrats clap back at GOP Rep. asking for special session to ban mask mandates

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Anti-mask parents at the Aug. 24, 2021 Pinellas School Board meeting. Daniel Figueroa IV/WMNF

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Less than a week after a Leon County Judge ruled Gov. Ron DeSantis’s executive order banning mask mandates in school was an unconstitutional abuse of power, at least one Republican lawmaker is floating the idea of handling mask controversies through legislation.

State Representative Anthony Sabatini Tuesday sent an email to the entire Florida House of Representatives. He asked members if they’d support a special session to ban all mask and vaccine mandates. Sabatini said “lawless local governments, radical school boards and woke corporations” have no place in the “Free State of Florida.”

House Democrats responded to the Lake County Republican with fervent opposition. Orlando-area Rep. Anna Eskamani wrote back:

“Let local governments decide for themselves and stop making masks and vaccines political issues.”

She continued: This is about public health. People are dying, some Floridians are poisoning themselves with medication meant for livestock – when will enough be enough?”

Tampa Democrat Fentrice Driskell said:

“No, I support the basic and fundamental freed for Florida’s families to be healthy and safe.”

While Tampa Bay representative Michele Rayner said simply: “You tried it. Nope.”

The President of the Senate and Speaker of the House can convene a special session by joint proclamation. But legislators can call for one as well. If 20 percent of legislators submit a letter to the Dept. of State, it will then officially poll both the House and Senate. If 60 percent of legislators respond favorably to that poll, a special session can be called.

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