A record high increase in Arkansans hospitalized with COVID yesterday. The steep rate of increase in hospitalizations & ICU patients is unlike anything we have seen throughout the pandemic & they are younger than ever before. Schools won’t make it through September without masks. https://t.co/esfAip4dt0 pic.twitter.com/ipkQbkJM7D
— John Pijanowski (@John_Pijanowski) July 20, 2021
The alarming rise in hospitalizations — exacerbated by short staffs that prevent filling otherwise available beds — is a good takeoff for news from lawyer Tom Mars.
He says he expects to file a lawsuit by next week in Pulaski Circuit Court challenging Act 1002 of 2021, Trent “Death March” Garner’s bill to “end mandatory face covering requirements” in Arkansas. As Mars has pointed out, the poor construction of the law reads, on its face, as the prohibition of all mandatory face covering, whether in welding, medical labs, football, hockey and other jobs and pursuits.
Mars said he’s challenge the bill as unconstitutionally overbroad, a violation of the separation of powers and an affront to the constitutional requirement for “adequate” education. Is it adequate education to force a child to attend class with threats to their lives in the form of unvaccinated and unmasked students and staff?
Mars said he represents a group of parents of students in K-12 schools. If successful, the judgement would apply statewide. The suit is filed in Pulaski County because that is where most challenges of state laws are filed.
The better solution is for the governor and legislature to act quickly and wisely. There are apparently no elected officials with that courage in the ruling Republican Party.
Mars notes that a circuit court (not the Supreme Court) rejected a legislators’ lawsuit challenging the governor’s mask mandate in part because of the separation of powers doctrine. The legislators dropped the lawsuit after the lower court ruling. Mars will argue that, even with a subsequent law change, the legislature overstepped its power by limiting the governor’s power to respond to emergencies.