Arizona can't use COVID money for anti-mask grants, feds say

Oct 5, 2021

The Biden administration on Tuesday ordered Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to stop using the state’s federal pandemic funding on a pair of new education grants that can only be directed to schools without mask mandates. 

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.
Credit AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File

  

In a letter to Ducey, the Treasury Department said the grant programs are “not a permissible use” of the funding. Ducey, a Republican, created the grant programs in August to put pressure on school districts that have defied the state’s ban on mask mandates. In the letter, the Treasury Department said the conditions “undermine evidence-based efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.”