PHOENIX — Editor's Note: The video above is from an earlier broadcast.
The Biden administration is threatening to recoup COVID-19 relief funds sent to Arizona over state provisions it says discourage families and school districts from following federal guidance recommending face coverings in schools.
At issue are two state programs that are meant to help schools and students but that direct funding away from jurisdictions with mask requirements.
The Treasury Department warns in a Friday letter that Arizona has 60 days to remove the anti-masking provisions before the federal government moves to recover the relief money.
It also threatens to withhold the next tranche of aid. Arizona has received about half of the $4.2 billion awarded to it under the 2021 coronavirus relief bill.
In 2021, Gov. Doug Ducey set aside $163 million in relief funding for a grant program that is not open to Arizona schools with mask mandates. School districts were given 10 days to rescind their mandates or risk missing out on the grant money.
The Treasury Department has previously warned Ducey's staff that these types of programs were not a permissible use of federal dollars.
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