Needing 18 votes, the Senate mustered 19 to pass Sen. Trent Garner’s SB 590 to ban mask mandates by any level of government in the state.
He made clear it applies to school districts as well as city, county and state governments.
This will eventually kill existing mask mandates in a number of cities and school districts. But … The bill needed 24 votes to take effect immediately. Without it, the bill can’t take effect until 90 days after the end of the session, which is expected to conclude April 30.
So mandates in Little Rock and North Little Rock may continue. Mayors in both cities have said in recently imposing these mandates that they’d be reviewed monthly.
At a news conference earlier today, Governor Hutchinson said this bill generally comported with his end of the state mask mandate, but he didn’t say explicitly if the ban on local governments was acceptable to him. I’d guess with the extended period before the mandates end that he isn’t likely to object.