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Arizona Supreme Court allows school masks ban ruling to stand despite AG's appeal

Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed an appeal to uphold four bills that were also shot down in the ruling of the state's attempted ban on mask mandates.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2020, file photo, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich speaks at a news conference in Phoenix. Brnovich says Tucson's vaccine mandate for city employees is illegal. Brnovich's decision Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, gives Tucson 30 days to repeal the mandate or lose millions of dollars in state funding. (AP Photo/Bob Christie, File)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court won't immediately reinstate a series of new laws that include measures that block schools from requiring masks and restrict the power of local governments to impose COVID-19 requirements. 

The high court on Wednesday turned down Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s request to stay a lower court ruling. The decision means schools can continue requiring face masks without facing legal jeopardy.  

Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper ruled on Monday the ban on certain COVID-19 mitigation measures, including mask mandates, violated the so-called "single-subject rule" for legislation, by being inserted into a state budget bill.

On Wednesday, the AG's office announced an appeal was filed at the Arizona Supreme Court. Brnovich's office said it was petitioning for the lawsuit against the mandate ban, which was filed by the  Arizona School Boards Association, to be transferred to the Supreme Court. 

Brnovich asked the Arizona Supreme Court to uphold four budget-related bills that were tossed out along with dozens of other pending laws in the mask mandate ban ruling. 

RELATED: Arizona judge declares law banning mask mandates is unconstitutional

"I will continue to defend laws passed by our state legislature and uphold the will of Arizona families," Brnovich said in a news release. 

Cooper's ruling voids dozens of other pending laws that were crammed into budget bills, including; 

  • A ban on teaching "critical race theory,"  which called for $5,000 penalties for school districts and the loss of a teaching certificate.
  • A ban on COVID-19 mitigation strategies by universities and community colleges. This would have codified Ducey's executive order blocking Arizona State University's COVID plan for the new school year - either get vaccinated or get tested regularly.
  • The 55-page "budget procedures" bill that was stuffed with changes to election law, some of them inspired by Senate Republicans' election review, several others designed to usurp authority from Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.   

The AG's office is also attempting to appeal a Federal District judge's decision to strike down portions of Arizona's pro-life law.

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