By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In case you are wondering, according to the Florida constitution, Governor Ron DeSantis does have the power to override decisions made by local elected officials.

The only ones that can override him are the courts and the court of public opinion at the ballot boxes.

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The governor has been clear and consistent on the mask issue, going against the wishes of some local governments, in this case, local school boards, many of whom want masks for students.

“What we are seeing right now is state government imposing its will locally, locals are screaming, but there is nothing they can do about it,” said Charles Zelden, history professor at Nova Southeastern University.

It’s in the Florida state constitution. Recently, for example, the governor or the legislature has overturned local governments’ moves to ban plastic straws and limit cruise ship traffic. Also, the City of Miami’s requirement to wear masks and levy fines during COVID-19.

It is an old fight that had surfaced in the last year and now again over masks.

“If the governor wants to hold fast, there is really not a lot you can do,” adds Zelden.

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Not a lot, but again, politics changes with the wind. What was just fine and a good political stance a month ago can quickly go south.

“Sounds like a great idea, let’s emphasize freedom, emphasize no maks mandate sounds great until you realize we have more COVID cases than we did during the winter,” said Zelden.

According to Zelden, there are two checks on the state’s power: Public opinion can impact the ballot boxes statewide and there are the courts.

“If you are a governor, you want to be careful. You don’t want to get overturned by the courts,” said Zelden.

That is precisely what happened when a federal court struck down a DeSantis’ executive order banning cruise lines from requiring proof of vaccinations prior to boarding.

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How will Floridians react to his anti-mask mandate for students at the ballot boxes? Only time will tell.