Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper ruled on Monday that the Arizona state legislature’s ban on mask mandates in the state is a violation of the Arizona constitution.
In her ruling, Cooper issued an injunction against the measure, which will prevent the ban from taking effect in public schools throughout the state.
Specifically, Cooper’s decision takes aim at the process by which state lawmakers passed the sweeping measure. Legislators packed the ban on mask mandate and other laws in the state budget.
Therefore, the broad new policies included into the spending bill, like the ban on mask mandates, will be unenforceable, as they were scheduled to go into place on Wednesday.
However, Arizona school districts have seemingly ignored the state law since it passed the legislature. Both Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) and Phoenix Union High School District (PXU), among multiple other districts, have announced that all students and staff must wear a mask during the school year.
Governor Doug Ducey has remained steadfast in his opposition to COVID-19 mandates. After the actions by the school districts, Ducey restated his opposition, focusing on the laws passed in the budget.
“Arizona does not allow mask mandates, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports or discrimination in schools based on who is or isn’t vaccinated. We’ve passed all of this into law, and it will not change,” Ducey said.
Furthermore, the governor pledged to withhold funds from schools that elect to enact a mask mandate and created a relief program that “will provide choice for parents who are facing financial and educational barriers due to unnecessary closures and school mandates and that are not in compliance with the provisions set forth in state law.”
Cooper’s ruling will likely be appealed, as her decision not only affects the ban on mask mandate, but a popular law making process among state legislators.
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