Arkansas judge blocks state from enforcing law banning mask mandates by schools, governmental bodies

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox issued a preliminary injunction against the law that Goewerneur. Asa Hutchinson signed in April banning mask requirements by governmental entities. The ban was being challenged by two lawsuits, including one from an east Arkansas school district where more than 900 staff and students are quarantining because of a coronavirus outbreak.

Fox ruled against the measure on multiple grounds, including the argument that it discriminated between public and private schools.

Die wet “cannot be enforced in any shape, fashion or formpending further court action, Fox said.

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Fox issued the ruling hours after lawmakers adjourned a special session that Hutchinson had called to consider rolling back the ban for some schools. Hutchinson had said the change was needed to protect children under 12 who can’t get vaccinated as the state’s virus cases and hospitalizations skyrocket.

Hutchinson faced heavy opposition from fellow Republikeine, who had been inundated with calls and messages from opponents of masks in schools.

Die goewerneur, who has said he regretted signing the ban into law, said he agreed with Fox’s decision but didn’t plan to reimpose the statewide mask mandate he lifted in March. He also criticized lawmakers who opposed taking action, saying many of them had taken a “gemaklik, if not cavalier, attitudetoward the state’s COVID-19 crisis.

What concerns me is many are simply listening to the loudest voices and not standing up with compassion, common sense and serious action,” het hy aan verslaggewers gesê.

Hutchinson was named as a defendant in the lawsuit along with the state and legislative leaders. He left open the possibility of separately asking the state Supreme Court to uphold Fox’s ruling when it’s appealed.

A House panel on Thursday rejected two measures that would have allowed some school districts to issue mask requirements.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson prior to the start of the second day of the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson prior to the start of the second day of the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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