Lawyer Tom Mars, after news of a non-decision by Governor Hutchinson and legislative leaders yesterday on restoring some health powers to local governments and school boards, stepped up his call for action and a promise of legal action to challenge the law banning mask mandates.

Here’s his letter to the governor and legislative leaders, which he released last night.

Advertisement

It includes an unsettling passage from a mother who begged for support from Sen. Missy Irvin for a mask requirement to protect her compromised elementary school child. Irvin, a doctor’s wife, reportedly told the mother that the best way to protect against COVID was to get it because that produced more antibodies than vaccine.

Arkansas, we have a problem bigger than Trent Garner and the cattle dewormer man.

Advertisement

Mars said he’s on the verge of filing a lawsuit, based on law, not politics. He outlines the constitutional case and promises to call the governor and legislators as witnesses at a hearing on a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the law. There is no right to “dangerous freedom,” as Sen. Trent Garner asserts, he says, and the courts have repeatedly upheld mandatory health measures, such as required vaccines.

The legislation is sloppily written, with different standards for different people — state prisons are exempt from the law, for example, while county jails are not and they hold local, state and federal prisoners. Another “irrational” blunder is the exemption of state hospitals from the mask ban, but not county hospitals.

Advertisement

He also contends the law unconstitutionally infringes on the state constitution’s requirement for a “general, suitable and efficient” system of public education. Federal law also prevents the state from banning a mask rule on school buses, he wrote.

He concludes:

Advertisement

Please let me know if you come to an agreement to remove the barriers that are preventing local school officials from creating the safest possible environment for Arkansas’ K-12 public school children. If you do, you’ll be saving lives, and K-12 parents in all 75 counties will applaud you.

In the meantime, we’ll proceed with our plans to file our Complaint in the Circuit Court of Pulaski County but will continue to hope that it won’t be necessary.

Time grows short.

 

Advertisement