Arkansas Judge Blocks State Enforcement of Mask Ban

Aug 9, 2021

Credit Courtesy: Chuck Smith / Red River Radio News

  ARKANSAS MASK BAN INJUNCTION — Last week Arkansas lawmakers were called into special session by Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson to consider his proposal to amend a bill he recently signed into law that banned any mask mandate made by any state agency,  including school boards. Appearing on  CBS Face The Nation yesterday, Governor  Asa  Hutchinson  explained  why  he changed  his position on the bill he signed into law.     

 "Whenever I signed that law cases were low. We were hoping that the whole thing was gone in terms of the virus, but it roared back with the Delta variant," Hutchinson explained.  "And whenever, you know- we're pushing the vaccines out, but those under 12 cannot get vaccinated. And so I realized that we needed to have more options for our local school districts to protect those children."   

"Whenever I signed that law cases were low. We were hoping that the whole thing was gone in terms of the virus, but it roared back with the Delta variant," Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas

But Arkansas  lawmakers  failed  to advance  two bills  that  would  have amended the state’s  current ban on mask mandates.   And so the courts  intervened  as  an  Arkansas judge has temporarily blocked the state from enforcing the law that  prevents schools  and  other  governmental agencies from  requiring masks.  A Pulaski County Circuit Court  issued a  preliminary injunction against the  law Gov. Asa Hutchinson  signed in April.                           

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
Credit Courtesy CBS

  "And now we have that local flexibility for schools to make their decision to protect the children based upon the unique circumstances of their district," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson  has said publicly  that he regrets  signing the  original bill into law but has also explained he likely would’ve been  overridden  by  the  Republican-dominated legislature  had  he  not  done  so.