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Arizona high court upholds ruling blocking school mask bans

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File
In this Dec. 2, 2020, file photo, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at a press conference in Phoenix. In the summer of 2021 Ducey signed into law several measures that restricted the power of local governments to enact COVID-19 protection measures. On Monday, Sept. 27 a judge struck down Arizona laws prohibiting public school districts from imposing mask requirements, colleges from requiring vaccinations for students and communities from establishing vaccine passports for people to show they were vaccinated.

The Arizona Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the Republican-controlled Legislature violated the state constitution by including new laws banning school mask mandates and a series of other measures in unrelated budget bills.

The swift ruling from the state’s high court Tuesday came less than two hours after the court heard arguments in the state’s appeal of a trial court judge’s ruling.

The justices had questions about the Republican-controlled Legislature’s inclusion of policy as different as dog racing and secure ballot paper in one of the budget bill.

The trial court judge sided with education groups that argued lawmakers violated the state constitution’s requirement that subjects be related and expressed in the title of bills.