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Judge hears opening arguments in lawsuit over ban on mask mandate

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TUCSON (KVOA) -- A ban on mask mandates goes into law in just a few weeks. A lawsuit filed against the state of Arizona by a group of educators hopes to change that. On Monday opening arguments were heard in court.

The 33-page lawsuit says Gov. Doug Ducey's ban on masks is not only unconstitutional, but discriminatory saying it unfairly discriminates against Arizona's public and charter school students compared to those attending private schooling.

In the lawsuit, they say the state passed three bills claiming to relate to budget reconciliation when it had nothing to do with the budget.

"In less. the...challenge in this case is declared unconstitutional and adjoined," Roopali H. Desai, Plaintiff's Attorney said. "A great many children in Arizona will get COVID-19. They will get sick, they will suffer from long COVID they will be hospitalized and they will die."

"I'm not sure the argument by the plaintiffs on this but it seems to be that because we're involved in the political process and long-ruling is bad," Pat Irvine, Attorney for the State said. "We have standing but I think the particularized injury has to be directed at those challenged provisions of the law. Not of the process itself."

Part of the lawsuit is a challenge to the recent ban on Critical Race Theory, which prohibits teaching curriculum that prevents any form of blame or judgment on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex.

Judge Katherine Cooper says she will make a ruling by Sept. 29, when the law would take effect.

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Denelle Confair

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