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Arkansas Governor speaks on special legislative session

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 12:51 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson addressed the media less than 24 hours after an Arkansas House committee voted against two mask bills.

“My primary mission was to provide flexibility for local school districts during this pandemic as that age group (12 and under) cannot be vaccinated,” Hutchinson said. “Today, the general assembly adjourned and went home without further action and without taking action at amending Act 1002. That is disappointing to me.”

Just this morning, an Arkansas judge took action to block the state from enforcing the law banning mask mandates by schools and other governmental bodies.

“What concerns me is that many are simply listen to the loudest voice and not standing up with compassion, common sense and serious action,” Hutchinson said. “But my objective has been achieved not by legislative action, but the court decision today of Judge Fox who ruled that Act 1002 is unconstitutional and an overreach of authority. The decision reaffirms my statement earlier this week that I regret signing Act 1002.”

Hutchinson said Act 1002 needed to be changed because of the new reality of the Delta variant and it failed to recognize the limits on legislative authority. Although, he wanted to emphasize that there will be not statewide makes mandate.

He said vaccinations are the solution to moving out of the pandemic.

“Hopefully that will minimize both the cases, but also those that are quarantined,” Hutchinson said. “If you look at Marion School District, it was not an astronomical number that was positive, but the quarantine list was so high, hundreds. That’s what we want to avoid as well because that hurts the learning of everybody. That can be avoided by vaccinations.”

From here, that’s the mission Hutchinson plans to focus on along with his continued COVID conversations.

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