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Arkansas mask mandate ban trial

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox will hear arguments over a three-day period about Arkansas's mask mandate ban law which was temporarily blocked in August.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas judge is holding a trial on whether to strike down a state law he's temporarily blocked that bans mask mandates by schools and other governmental entities.

The trial begins Monday before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox, who in August issued a preliminary injunction preventing the state from enforcing the ban.

Fox ruled the law violates Arkansas’s constitution, saying it discriminates between public and private school students. He said it also infringes on the governor’s emergency powers, as well as the authority of county officials and the state Supreme Court.

The trial will start at 9 a.m. and you can watch a livestream below. It is expected to last three days.

WATCH LIVE:

More than 100 school districts and public charter schools approved mask mandates following Fox's order, though many lifted or relaxed them as the state's COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases decreased.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the ban into law in April, but he has since said he regretted that decision and agreed with Fox's ruling against it.

Attorney Tom Mars, who is representing the parents and the districts, argues there are different rules for public and private schools.

Under Act 1002, public school districts cannot require masks, but private schools can.

We will have a reporter inside the courtroom, following the case closely and will provide any updates as they become available.

THV11 contributed to this report.