ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona GOP lawmakers want Ducey to penalize schools that require masks

Aug 11, 2021, 1:55 PM | Updated: 2:21 pm

In this Thursday, July 9, 2020, file photo, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey gives a coronavirus ...

In this Thursday, July 9, 2020, file photo, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey gives a coronavirus update. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File)

PHOENIX – A group of Arizona lawmakers from Gov. Doug Ducey’s own Republican party are pushing him take action against public school districts that have imposed face mask mandates.

“It borders on anarchy and destabilizes the very foundation of our society to have local governments effectively refusing to comply with the law. It must not be allowed to stand,” 26 GOP legislators, led by Rep. Jake Hoffman, said in a statement released Wednesday.

Among their demands are that Ducey withhold federal funding from districts with mask mandates and give their students vouchers known as Empowerment Scholarship Accounts that can be used at private schools.

“Stated plainly, the legislature did its job by passing common sense laws to protect the children and students of Arizona from anti-science mask and vaccine mandates, now we are eager to see the executive branch do its job to ensure that those laws are faithfully executed by the various levels of government within this state,” the statement from nine Senators and 17 House members says.

At least nine Arizona districts, including Phoenix Union High School and Tucson Unified, are requiring face coverings in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations driven by the fast-spreading delta variant.

A ban on such mandates was passed into law as part of the state budget signed by Ducey at the end of June. The bill that includes the ban doesn’t go into effect until Sept. 29, but it contains a clause to make the mask provision retroactive to June 30.

While seeking to have a lawsuit filed by a Metro Tech biology teacher dismissed, the Phoenix Union High School District argued that the law prohibiting face mask mandates isn’t in effect yet. A judge scheduled both sides to give full arguments on Friday.

The GOP legislators said they’ve previously discussed the matter in private with Ducey but “are now calling upon him publicly on behalf of our constituents.”

Here are the lawmakers behind the message, in order of how they are listed on the statement:

  • Rep. Jake Hoffman
  • Speaker Pro Tempore Travis Grantham
  • House Majority Whip Leo Biasiucci
  • Rep. Brenda Barton
  • Rep. Walt Blackman
  • Rep. Shawnna Bolick
  • Rep. Judy Burges
  • Rep. Joseph Chaplik
  • Rep. John Fillmore
  • Rep. Mark Finchem
  • Rep. Steve Kaiser
  • Rep. Quang Nguyen
  • Rep. Becky Nutt
  • Rep. Jacqueline Parker
  • Rep. Beverly Pingerelli
  • Rep. Bret Roberts
  • Rep. Justin Wilmeth
  • Senate Majority Whip Sonny Borrelli
  • Sen. Nancy Barto
  • Sen. Sine Kerr
  • Sen. David Livingston
  • Sen. J.D. Mesnard
  • Sen. Warren Petersen
  • Sen. Wendy Rogers
  • Sen. Kelly Townsend
  • Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita

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Arizona GOP lawmakers want Ducey to penalize schools that require masks