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Ky. attorney general joins brief supporting ruling that ended CDC’s travel mask mandate

Kyeland Jackson

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron joined 22 other attorneys general Tuesday in supporting the district court ruling this spring that ended the Biden administration’s Centers for Disease Control mask mandate at public transportation hubs, including airports.

Cameron says he joined the amicus brief filed in a federal appellate court because he believes the district court ruling voiding the mandate in April was the right one.

“The district court’s ruling here correctly ended the Biden Administration’s mandate requiring all travelers to wear masks at airports, train stations, and other transportation hubs,” Cameron said in a release. “We joined this brief to support the court’s important ruling and ensure this mandate is not reinstated.”

In their brief, the attorneys general make their arguments against the mandate. They wrote that the CDC mandate exceeded the agency’s authority to impose sanitation measures and that domestic travelers cannot be examined without evidence they are disease carriers. The state law officials also say the CDC violated their own regulations by not studying local COVID-19 restrictions prior to issuing the mandate last year.

“CDC regulations say that it cannot act unless it finds local measures inadequate,” the brief reads. “But here, CDC never even studied local measures, much less developed a method to determine whether those measures are adequate.”

Cameron joins the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia in filing the brief.

The Kentucky attorney general joined a 21-state coalition in a multistate suit against the same CDC mask mandate in March.

Since the ruling ending the mandate, the Department of Justice has asked a federal appeals court to reverse the order, though no action has followed. Currently, Kentucky is facing a surge in COVID-19 cases as two-thirds of its 120 counties remain in the highest risk category for spread.

The CDC continues to recommend that everyone age 2 and up wear masks on public transportation to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“CDC continues to recommend that all people—passengers and workers, alike—properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator in indoor public transportation conveyances and transportation hubs to provide protection for themselves and other travelers in these high volume, mixed population settings,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky said in a statement. “We now have a range of tools we need to protect ourselves from the impact of COVID-19, including access to high-quality masks and respirators for all who need them.”

A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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