By Eric Daugherty
February 24, 2022 Updated 1:32 P.M. ET
TALLAHASSEE (FCV) – After Florida State Representative Randy Fine (R) proposed a provision in the coming fiscal year’s budget to withhold around $200 million from 12 school districts who defied Florida law banning school mask mandates, Florida Democrats are getting the federal government involved.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Florida congressional Democrats have requested that the Department of Education “consider investigating” the proposal from Fine, which is now backed by Governor Ron DeSantis (R).
“Fining school districts based on the number of administrators making more than $100,000 is arbitrary and capricious,” the letter states.
Fine’s proposal does not cut program funding, which DeSantis made clear he would never support. Rather, it digs into the salaries of administrators in the 12 districts that force-masked their children, going against Florida law during the pandemic.
Democrats are claiming that the measure is “arbitrary and capricious,” a legal term from the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) which says that a court must reverse any agency’s decision or rule if it fits particular criteria.
According to Cornell Law, capricious generally applies to court rulings and administrative law. It is defined as not fitting the standard unless “the judge makes a decision without reasonable grounds or adequate consideration of the circumstances.”
Conservatives argue that not only was masking children accomplishing nothing, but it proved detrimental to the education experience. It was also made clear that violating Florida law would be met with funding cuts.
It is unclear how this would apply to a state legislature, even if true.
The “arbitrary-or-capricious” test helps judges assess these standards. The term is highly litigated and debated.
FCV reached out to the offices of Representative Fine and Governor DeSantis and have not yet received a response.
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