May 25, 2022

AZ Gov. fights mask mandates: students need math, not masks

By Catherine Mortensen

Kudos to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey for finding a way to use federal COVID aid money to undermine what many consider to be useless, even cruel mask mandates for school children. Ducey is using COVID relief money to incentivize schools to drop mask mandates. He is distributing the funds through two programs, one that goes directly to schools, the other that goes to families.

According to the Wall Street Journal,

Arizona restricts one program—which awards grants to increase per pupil funding—only to schools that don’t require the use of face coverings.

The other program provides funding of up to $7,000 to eligible families for use to pay for alternatives to their current school, such as child care, online tutoring and tuition. Families can tap those funds if they are able to demonstrate that their current school is “isolating, quarantining, or subjecting children to physical Covid-19 constraints in schools, such as requiring the use of masks or providing preferential treatment to vaccinated students,” according to a state press release last August.

The Biden Treasury Department sent a letter to Arizona officials threatening to claw back those federal COVID relief funds if the state doesn’t redesign those two programs.

According to the Journal, the Treasury Department claimed “the Arizona programs erode efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19 and are therefore ineligible for federal coronavirus relief funds.”

Gov. Ducey, a Republican, responded to the Treasury’s letter in a series of tweets on Friday.

“When it comes to education, President Biden wants to continue focusing on masks. In Arizona, we’re going to focus on math and getting kids caught up after a year of learning loss.”

Ducey added that the state plans to respond to the Treasury’s latest letter.

According to the Journal, the Treasury Department has given Arizona sixty days to redesign its two education funding programs before the feds start withholding the COVID relief aid and seeking to recoup funds.

“Ducey has the full support of Americans for Limited Government in his fight to protect our children from mask mandates that require children to  8 hours or more each day,” said Americans for Limited Government President Richard Manning. “I’m not arguing the efficacy of masks because I am not a doctor or scientist, I am simply arguing against mandates that restrict individual liberties and freedoms. What Ducey is doing is trying to put children and families back in control of making decision about their personal health and safety.”

Ducey isn’t the only Republican governor fighting federal COVID mandates. Perhaps the most vocal critic of the Biden administration’s policies is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. In his recent state-of-the-state address, DeSantis said, “These unprecedented policies have been as ineffective as they have been destructive. They are grounded more in blind adherence to Faucian declarations than they are in the constitutional traditions.”

DeSantis, who is eyeing a possible 2024 run for president, is a frequent critic of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert.

Another potential 2024 GOP presidential hopeful, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, vowed to push for legislation that she said would protect medical or religious exemptions from vaccine requirements.

Increasingly, it appears states and governors are leading the fight for individual liberty and freedom in America.

Catherine Mortensen is Vice President of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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