Across the United States, Republican legislators fought against precautions intended to limit the damage done by COVID-19. Among them was Governor Asa Hutchinson (R), of Arkansas. While states debated whether to impose mask mandates, Hutchinson went in the opposite direction, actually banning mask mandates in the state.
Back in April, Hutchinson signed a law that would ban any mask mandates in his state, not only at the state level but at the local level, forbidding counties and cities to enforce their own rules in the middle of a pandemic. According to KATV, the state had previously had a mask mandate. When it ended, some cities maintained their own mandates — until Hutchinson signed into law a rule preventing them.
Now watch Hutchinson express regret for that decision, and say that he wants new legislation that would allow school districts to enact mask mandates.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) says he regrets signing law banning local mask mandates, as COVID cases quickly rise in his state.
“In hindsight, I wish that had not become law,” said Hutchinson, who has asked lawmakers to allow school districts to adopt mask mandates. pic.twitter.com/sj1Q8ukLCA
— The Recount (@therecount) August 4, 2021
“Our cases were at a low point. Everything has changed now. And yes, in hindsight, I wish that had not become law. But it is the law, and the only chance we have is to either amend it or for the courts to say it has an unconstitutional foundation.”
Hutchinson is only one among many Republican legislators and public figures who seem to be beginning to reverse course on pandemic response, pleading with constituents to be vaccinated, or considering reinstating precautions the previously shunned. However, he may be the only one to have suggested that his state might benefit from a court overturning a pandemic law he himself enacted.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com