PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey has signed legislation prohibiting the state from implementing mask mandates for juveniles without the consent of their parents.
House Bill 2616 is the latest piece of COVID-related legislation to narrowly pass through both chambers of the Arizona Legislature before getting signed by Ducey.
The bill stops any local government entity from requiring juveniles under 18 to wear a face mask without obtaining the consent of their guardian.
The bill specifically "prohibits this state, any political subdivision, governmental entity, school district or any charter school from requiring that a face covering or mask be worn by a person under the age of 18 without the express consent of the person's parent or guardian."
Mask mandates became a divisive, hot-button issue throughout the pandemic, resulting in public debates within local school districts as they struggled to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
In addition to HB 2616, the governor signed another piece of legislation on Monday stating that "any government entity may not require an Arizona resident to receive a vaccination for COVID-19 or any variant of COVID-19."
Ducey has also signed House Bill 2507, which stops the state from discriminating against religious organizations that seek to stay open during a state of emergency.
HB 2507 requires the state to let churches remain operational during an emergency "to the same or greater extent as other organizations or businesses that provide essential services and that are necessary and vital to the health and welfare of the public," public records state.
The legislation still allows Arizona to have religious organizations "comply with neutral health, safety or occupancy requirements issued by the state government."
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