Arkansas judge dismisses lawsuit challenging virus mandates

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FILE – In this April 27, 2020 file photo, Gov. Asa Hutchinson takes off his Arkansas Razorbacks facemark as he arrives for the daily coronavirus briefing at the state Capitol in Little Rock. Hutchinson issued the order Thursday, July, 16, 2020, effective Monday, July 20, requiring people to wear masks in public throughout the state, which is dealing with a surge in coronavirus cases. The governor issued the order after weeks of resisting such a requirement. (Staton Breidenthal/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a group of Republican legislators seeking to invalidate a mask mandate and other restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Wednesday ruled that the directives issued by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s administration are within the governor’s authority under state law and legislative rules.

The lawsuit filed by 18 GOP lawmakers argued the restrictions required legislative approval.

A state representative who led the lawsuit effort said he planned to appeal Griffen’s ruling.

Arkansas was among a handful of states that didn’t issue a stay-at-home order.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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