Arkansas asks judge to dismiss lawsuit over virus mandates


Gov. Asa Hutchinson removes his mask before a briefing at the state capitol Monday‚ July 2020 in Little Rock. As more states are enacting requirements for people to wear masks to curb a surge of coronavirus cases, they’re facing resistance from the police expected to enforce those orders. Several law enforcement agencies in Arkansas have said they won’t enforce Hutchinson’s mask mandate that took effect this week. (Staci Vandagriff/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by a group of Republican legislators challenging the state’s coronavirus restrictions.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office said in a filing Tuesday that the restrictions are valid under a 1973 law on disasters and under rules approved last year by the Legislature.

A group of 18 legislators sued this month over the restrictions, which include a mask mandate and capacity limits for bars and restaurants.

They argue the restrictions require legislative approval.

Arkansas has had at least 74,772 coronavirus cases and 1,209 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began.

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