Superior Court Judge invalidates Arizona mask mandate ban

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A Maricopa County judge yesterday invalidated Arizona’s ban on mask mandates by ruling that lawmakers violated the state constitution by including the ban and other policy issues in unrelated budget bills.  The mask mandate ban would have gone into effect tomorrow. Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, joined us earlier today to talk about the ruling and its impact on state schools. 

“Stuffing them into the budget last minute to get votes is a poor way of doing government and no one in Arizona is represented well when policymakers do that. We had seen a drift in the last several sessions of the legislature doing more and more policy inside the budget as opposed to statutes in a stand-alone bill,” Thomas said.

Thomas said he is happy with the results of this judge’s ruling, as he believes it will allow districts and schools to remain safe. Thomas says he hears a lot of “relief” from school districts.

“They know that wearing masks during the entire pandemic has been politicized far more than it should ever have been on the national level and the state level,” Thomas said.

Thomas says educators, students, and parents all want education to happen inside the classroom rather than remotely. To do this, he says masks are necessary to suppress the spread of covid-19.

“Educators are very exhausted and I am sure parents and students are as well from this ping-pong effect of being in school and then being out of school if you are on quarantine or seeing that your class had 30 in it yesterday and now it only has 15,” Thomas said.

Thomas said supportive policies are needed to provide stability from this effect of the pandemic.

Joe Thomas/President, Arizona Education Association

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