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Arkansas Supreme Court says mask mandate ban can't be enforced

Justices denied the request by the state to stay the August decision blocking enforcement of Arkansas’s mandate ban.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday said it wouldn’t allow the state to enforce its ban on mask mandates by schools and other government bodies, keeping in place a judge’s ruling temporarily halting the law.

Justices denied the request by the state to stay the August decision blocking enforcement of Arkansas’s mandate ban.

More than 100 school districts and charter schools have approved mask requirements since the ruling against the law. The requirements cover more than half the state’s public school students.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who signed the law but later said he regretted that decision, had separately asked the court to deny the request to stay the ruling.

In a statement, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she was disappointed in the ruling, "but it is only the first step in the appeal."

"I will wholeheartedly defend Arkansas law as this appeal progresses," she said.

THV11 contributed to this article.