A judge is set to hear arguments Monday in a case seeking to overturn several new Arizona laws that restrict the power of local governments and school districts to impose COVID-19 restrictions such as mask mandates.
The coalition of educators, parents and children’s advocacy groups argued in their lawsuit that the provisions were unconstitutionally tucked into unrelated budget bills. The attorney representing Attorney General Mark Brnovich says they were legally enacted because how the Legislature writes measures and chooses the content are questions for lawmakers, not for the courts.
The laws being challenged would prohibit public school districts from imposing mask requirements, bar universities from requiring vaccinations for students and forbid communities from establishing vaccine passports for people to show they are inoculated.
The groups behind the challenge argued the provisions in several budget bills violate constitutional rules requiring laws to focus on only one subject and have their contents reflected in the title of the bills.
Based on this legal contention, the coalition is asking the judge to undo two other laws unrelated to COVID-19 prevention efforts.
One law prohibits the use of state money for teachings at schools that infer that one race is inherently racist, should be discriminated against or feel guilty because of their race. Another law establishes a legislative committee to review the findings of the state Senate review of the November 2020 election results in Maricopa County.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper will weigh the request to block the laws from taking effect as scheduled on Sept. 29 at a Monday afternoon hearing.