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Pulaski County Circuit Judge temporarily blocks mask mandate ban in Arkansas now allowing school districts to require masks in schools



A special meeting held to amend the Act 1002 that bans mask mandates, ended on Friday without amending the law after rejecting two proposals on Thursday.

Although he governor and lawmakers faced heavy pressure from the public, parents and school districts it was not enough to force them to amend the law to allow schools to require mask.

However, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox temporarily blocked the law on Friday and he made the ruling in regards to a lawsuit brought against the state by parents.

With his latest decision, the state now won’t be allowed to enforce its mask mandate ban. Although the Judge’s decision is temporarily, it should help officials in battling the latest coronavirus spread across Arkansas.

Fox said the law, Act 1002, violates equal protection amendments between private and public school students.

The ban was being initially challenged by two school districts, but later a group of parents filed a second lawsuit.

The bill was signed by the governor on April, something that he regrated today after not being able to amend it and let school districts require masks in schools. Hutchinson’s main concern is that children under 12 who are not eligible to get vaccinated, should be required to wear masks in school in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

During a press conference after the court ruling, Hutchinson voiced his disappointment in some lawmakers for their “casual if not cavalier attitude toward this public health emergency.”

“Theoretically, I could do a statewide order under my emergency powers, but that wouldn’t last too long,” Hutchinson said.

He supports the judge’s ruling adding his decision is well-reasoned.

With one of the lowest vaccination rates across the country, Arkansas is facing maybe the largest Covid-19 so far.