Arkansas Mask Mandate Ban Blocked by Judge
An Arkansas judge temporarily blocked a ban on mask warrants on Friday, which will allow school districts and other state government entities to require face coverings to help curb the spread of news coronavirus infections.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a relatively moderate Republican who enacted the ban in the spring, had tried to change it in recent days amid skyrocketing cases. The daily average of new cases is two-thirds of the state’s highest peak, reached during the winter.
At a hearing in Little Rock on Friday, Judge Tim Fox of the Pulaski County Circuit Court said he would issue a preliminary injunction against the ban.
His decision capped a week of high political drama in Arkansas, one of many states – including Florida, South Carolina and Texas – where Tory elected officials have banned mask mandates despite spikes in new cases. caused by the highly contagious variant of the Delta.
Arkansas law prohibits most state government entities from requiring masks. Mr Hutchinson said he regretted his decision to sign him and called a special session of the Republican-controlled legislature that began on Wednesday, calling on lawmakers to change the law so that school districts can issue mask warrants .
Lawmakers refused to take action before closing the session on Friday morning.
Tom Mars, the attorney who brought the lawsuit against the law on behalf of the parents of the Little Rock School District, said the judge’s ruling freed Arkansas school districts and other government entities to issue mask warrants for the foreseeable future. Mr Mars said it was not clear when the court could consider his request to permanently block the law.
The school districts of Little Rock and Marion, Ark., Have filed a separate lawsuit challenging the ban.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. on Thursday announced a mask warrant in public places, joining a wave of other local authorities and school officials in Texas and Florida defying state bans.
In a telephone interview, a state senator who sponsored the ban, Trent Garner, accused the judge of “legislating on the bench” and said he was confident the ban would be reinstated on appeal .
A spokeswoman for the state attorney general’s office said officials were reviewing the judge’s order to consider their options.
#Arkansas #Mask #Mandate #Ban #Blocked #Judge