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Aug. 4, 2021, 3:31 p.m. EDT

Republican governor of Arkansas seeks to allow schools to mandate masks despite signing bill that bars local mask mandates

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Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is pressing forward with an effort to allow schools to mandate face masks as coronavirus infections continue to rise in the state.

Hutchinson on Tuesday called the legislature back into session to consider revising a law he signed in April that prohibits mask mandates by schools and other governmental entities.

Don’t miss: As the more contagious delta variant circulates, health experts say herd immunity is even farther down the road

The governor, who faced accusations of lying about the pandemic during a recent town-hall event from constituents insisting that hospitals were not crowded and that COVID-19 vaccines are not effective , has said that in hindsight he wishes the mask-mandate ban had not become law.

Some lawmakers in the Republican-controlled body continue to oppose local mandates.

The session will begin Wednesday in Little Rock and include a proposal to prevent the state from having to resume making supplemental unemployment benefits to thousands of residents.

MarketWatch contributed.

Coronavirus Update: Delta variant is now in 135 countries, says WHO, as director-general calls for moratorium on boosters to allow poorer countries get first doses

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