ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona Supreme Court to consider case blocking school mask ban

Nov 1, 2021, 9:30 PM
(File photo by John Moore/Getty Images)...
(File photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(File photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in an appeal of a court ruling that found new laws banning schools from requiring masks and a series of other measures were unconstitutional.

Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich wants the court to overturn that ruling and allow provisions in state budget legislation that were blocked be to take effect. The high court will hear 40 minutes of arguments at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper issued a ruling on Sept. 27 blocking the school mask ban and a host of other provisions in the state budget package from going into force on Sept. 29. She sided with education groups that had argued the bills were packed with policy items unrelated to the budget and violated the state constitution’s requirement that subjects be related and expressed in the title of bills.

Cooper’s ruling cleared the way for K-12 public schools to continue requiring students to wear face masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. At least 29 of the state’s public school districts issued mask mandates before the laws were set to take effect, and some immediately extended them after Cooper’s ruling.

Arizona cities and counties were also able to enact mask requirements and other COVID-19 rules that would have been blocked by the budget bills.

Republican opponents of school mask requirements and local COVID-19 restrictions were powerless to immediately pass new versions of the laws. That’s because of a series of GOP vacancies in the closely split Arizona House that prevented them from mustering a majority without Democratic support.

Cooper’s sweeping ruling also struck non-virus provisions that were slipped into the state budget and an entire budget measure that had served as a vehicle for a conservative policy wish list. They included a required investigation of social media companies and the stripping of the Democratic secretary of state of her duty to defend election laws.

The state is raising many of the same arguments in its appeal that were rejected by Cooper. They include that the education groups have no right to sue and that if the high court does agree with the trial judge that the legislation violated the constitution’s title and single-subject provisions, it should allow the laws to take effect and make its ruling only apply going forward.

The state is mainly trying to persuade the justices that there are not constitutional faults. It argues that the subjects they contained were all related and generally identified in the bill title.

Attorneys for the group of education advocates that sued, including the Arizona School Boards Association, said the lower court got it right.

“The trial court relied on well-settled precedent and properly ruled that each of the challenged laws was passed in violation of the constitution,” attorney Roopali Desai wrote in her brief to the court.

If the Supreme Court upholds Cooper’s decision, it will have far-reaching ramifications for the Legislature. Republicans who control the Senate and House have long ignored the constitutional requirement that budget bills deal only with spending items. Lawmakers have packed them with policy items, and this year majority Republicans were especially aggressive.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

In the first half of 2019, more than 3.27million pedestrians crossed frmo Mexico to the U.S. throug...
SuElen Rivera

Santa Cruz County sheriff, who oversees Nogales, believes ‘there is no invasion’ at the southern border

Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway said on Wednesday he doesn't believe there is an invasion at the southern Arizona border.
6 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Downtown Mesa)...
KTAR.com

Inaugural Beards and Brews Booze Crawl coming to downtown Mesa on Saturday

Get in the holiday spirit this weekend with a new pub crawl in downtown Mesa this Saturday called Beards and Brews Booze Crawl.
6 hours ago
(City of Phoenix Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Phoenix boosts lifeguard pay incentive to $3,000 for 2023 pool season

After only having enough staff to open about half of its pools in 2022, the city of Phoenix is upping its incentive to lifeguards for next year.
6 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/City Government of Chandler, Arizona)...
KTAR.com

Chandler City Council approves policy to prohibit acts of discrimination

The Chandler City Council voted 6-1 to adopt an ordinance that prohibits discrimination during Monday’s meeting.
1 day ago
(Photo by Mike Simons/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Execution warrant requested for Arizona death row inmate

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has requested the state Supreme Court issue a warrant of execution for death row inmate Aaron Gunches.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/Angel Zamora)...
KTAR.com

2 Phoenix police officers charged with assault in October incident with shooting suspect

Charges against two Phoenix police officers accused of assaulting a shooting suspect during an October arrest have been submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Arizona Supreme Court to consider case blocking school mask ban