Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox has scheduled a three-day court hearing in November on the lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the state law that prohibits mandates on the wearing of facial coverings as a defense against the transmission of COVID-19.
The hearing on Act 1002 of 2021, which applies to most state and local government agencies -- including school districts -- is set for 9 a.m. Nov. 22, 23 and 24.
On Aug. 6, Fox stopped enforcement of the law until a full hearing could be held and a decision issued in the dispute. The lawsuit was taken to court by parents Veronica McClane and Ashley Simmons, as well as the Little Rock and Marion school districts and two Pulaski County officials: Barry Hyde, the county judge of Pulaski County, and Sheriff Eric Higgins.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said earlier this month that 118 of the state's school systems -- enrolling the majority of the state's public school students -- have mask requirements. A total of 87 of the state's 262 traditional districts and charter systems have chosen not to require masks, and 57 have taken no action.
Hutchinson is a defendant in the lawsuit, but he has said that he agrees with Fox's Aug. 6 ruling and that he regrets signing the bill into law last spring.