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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference at the Lakeland, Florida, Police Department on Sept. 7. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Education filed a complaint Thursday urging an administrative judge to block Florida from withholding federal funds from two school districts for implementing mask mandates.

Driving the news: "The Florida Department of Education has unlawfully — and explicitly — reduced the amount of state aid provided to Florida school districts based on their receipt of federal funds," according to the complaint.

  • The complaint alleges that the state slashed funding to districts "as part of a broader effort to deter those districts from implementing practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
  • The U.S. Department of Education filed the complaint with the agency's Office of Administrative Law Judges and seeks a cease and desist order against the state of Florida.

The big picture: School officials in Alachua and Broward counties alleged that Florida reduced funding because they received federal grants to counteract state penalties for issuing mask mandates, AP reports.

  • Thursday's filing is the latest clash between DeSantis and the Biden administration over mask mandates in the state.
  • DeSantis' administration also recently passed measures to cut the salaries of school board members in districts that implement a mask mandate, per AP.
  • DeSantis also announced Thursday that the state filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors.

What they're saying: The complaint "comes after we made repeated requests to work together and protect students, educators, and school communities," a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Education said in a statement.

  • "We believe Florida’s actions have violated federal law by reducing state funds based on the receipt by districts of federal funds."

The other side: "The U.S. DOE is acting unlawfully and they have yet to respond to the substance of our prior response," Jared Ochs, a spokesperson for Florida's Department of Education, said in a statement.

  • "We will continue forward fighting for Florida students’ access to a free and public education."
  • DeSantis' office shares the Florida Department of Education's position, per a spokesperson.

Go deeper: DeSantis sues Biden administration over contractor vaccine mandate

Go deeper

Federal court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting with his COVID-19 response team. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

A federal court in Missouri has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers at federally funded facilities in 10 states.

Why it matters: Monday's decision is the first victory for opponents of the rule, which requires health care workers to get vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022. The case is one of four lawsuits challenging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) rule and argues that the mandate will exacerbate staffing shortages.

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

Axios Investigates

Exclusive: Airbnb hosts Xinjiang rentals on land owned by sanctioned group

Data: Axios research, Airbnb, Australia Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Airbnb has more than a dozen homes available for rent in China's Xinjiang region on land owned by an organization sanctioned by the U.S. government for complicity in genocide and forced labor, an Axios investigation has found.

Why it matters: The listings expose Airbnb to regulatory risk under U.S. law. They also land yet another American tech company in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.