Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

‘Our state leaders have completely dropped the ball’: Arkansans react to legislators blocking bill set to change mask mandate ban


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Not just lawmakers, but Arkansans are sounding off after the special session wrapped up this morning. It all centers around the mask mandate ban.

The bills to repeal or change the mask mandate ban didn’t make it out of committee. Pharmacist Layna Williams said she was hopeful for a different outcome.

“I’m honestly shocked. Maybe I’m an optimist, but I am shocked,” Williams said.

She wanted lawmakers to listen to the advice of medical professionals.

“We are making this medical decision political and it’s so wrong,” Williams said.

Not only is she a medical professional, but in a few weeks, she will be sending her kids off to school with mask in hand.

“The legislative rulings that happened this week shows we are putting our freedom to choose wearing a mask over our children’s safety,” Williams said.

She said legislators had a chance to keep kids safe.

“Our state leaders have completely dropped the ball,” Williams said.

Others, like Dawn Kelliher, think Governor Asa Hutchinson should not have called this special session at all.

“We always looked at whether we had the votes to get a piece of legislation passed so, yeah it was a big error on his part,” Kelliher said.

She said this cost a lot of money when he knew he didn’t have the votes.

“When you call them all back, get the capitol open, get the security, it just takes so much money to do and it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars,” Kelliher said.

She is still undecided on how lawmakers should have voted.

“I haven’t made up my mind about that,” Kelliher said.

Williams said this decision will definitely impact her next visit to the polls.

“I hope none of them who voted against these house bills ever get a political office again,” Williams said.

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