PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s Republican governor has signed legislation that will prevent state health officials from adding a COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required school immunizations and ban the use of face coverings in any buildings operated by state governments. or local.
The two coronavirus bills signed by Governor Doug Ducey on Friday would permanently block disease mitigation measures that health professionals say are critical to controlling the coronavirus pandemic if cases rise again or if the virus mutates and becomes more deadly to children.
A ban on face masks in libraries, courthouses and other public buildings could also hit efforts to stop the spread of a new airborne disease. Ducey’s office did not comment on the governor when he announced Friday afternoon that he had signed the two bills along with 18 others.
He championed the signing of legislation requiring K-12 public schools to dedicate a portion of the school day each 9/11 to teaching about the terrorist attacks that hit the nation in 2001, and a bill prohibiting sure to consider the breed of a dog. when reviewing applications for homeowners insurance.
The coronavirus measures were the latest moves by most Republican lawmakers to limit what they have called government overreach. All House and Senate Republicans voted in favor of the measures, with minority Democrats unanimously opposed.
Ducey has already signed several laws this year aimed at virus restrictions. One would prohibit schools from requiring students to wear masks unless their parents have given explicit consent, and another would prevent government entities from requiring employees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations.
They are major changes to virus restrictions that Ducey backed early in the pandemic before joining many other Republican politicians on openly opposing terms. He ordered businesses closed, issued orders requiring masks to be worn in public schools and did not object when municipalities and county governments issued mask mandates during the first year of the pandemic.
Most government buildings, including courthouses, had mask mandates for much of the pandemic before relaxing them in recent months.
The introduction of vaccines against COVID-19 is credited with limiting deaths and serious illness, but opponents of the mandate say personal choice should outweigh government mandates.
The bill that prohibits the state Department of Health Services from adding a COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required school immunizations supersedes a measure passed last year that only prohibited mandates for vaccines with federal emergency use authorization. Democrats said it wasn’t necessary as Arizona makes it easy for parents to opt out of any vaccination mandates.
The measures will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns its current 2022 session.
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.
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