How 1 line in the Arizona budget plan reignited debate over masks in schools

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By Mary Jo Pitzl | Arizona Republic

The latest wave of protests over masks for schoolchildren is moving through state capitals.

But contrary to Iowa and Texas, where school boards are banned from requiring masks for students and staff, the Arizona Legislature is poised to empower school boards to decide what’s best for kids, teachers and other school workers.

Related: Protesting masks and racism education, the ‘patriots’ take on Arizona’s school boards

A provision in the education-related budget bill would give school boards final authority over mask policy. This is a duty they already have in practice, since Gov. Doug Ducey last month rescinded his executive order that required masks at public schools.

But House Bill 2898 would enshrine in state law that school boards have the final say on mask policy.

The one-line reference caught some lawmakers off guard and elevated the mask issue to one of many demands on which lawmakers are conditioning their budget votes.

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