Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

Trial over Arkansas mask mandate ban gets underway in Little Rock

Coronavirus
January 01 2022 12:00 am

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A trial is underway in Pulaski County over a lawsuit challenging a statewide mask mandate ban.

In August Judge Tim Fox issued a preliminary injunction preventing the state of Arkansas from enforcing this ban.

This case involves several different groups including the Little Rock and Marion school districts, two parents of Little Rock School District students and Pulaski County entities like the sheriff’s office and the county judge.

It was a long day in court Monday as attorneys questioned nine witnesses.

Veronica McClane, one of the parents who sued the state over the mask mandate ban, took the stand to share her concerns for her son in the LRSD, saying she wants an extra layer of protection when her son goes back to the classroom and adding that hundreds of other parents feel the same way.

“Yes, my mask can protect me in some ways, but it’s more effective if the other people are wearing a mask,” McClane said.

Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero also testified, talking about the state of the pandemic and sharing his opinion on how effective masks can be.

“There is no doubt that putting a mask mandate, not allowing the school to have the ability to have the mask, places these children at excessive risk,” Romero said. “We should be doing everything possible to prevent infection due to this virus for children.”

In August, Fox ruled the law violates the Arkansas Constitution, saying it discriminates between public and private schools. He also said it infringes on the governor’s emergency powers as well as the authority of county officials and state supreme court.

Testimony wrapped Monday evening, and Fox announced all parties now have until December 10 to submit a post-trail brief of closing arguments. The judge will make a ruling after those arguments are submitted.

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