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."
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.
"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.