Arizona Governor Approves Ban on School COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

Arizona Governor Approves Ban on School COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey talks to reporters after meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington on April 3, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday said he had signed into law a measure that bars state health officials from adding a COVID-19 vaccine to the list of inoculations needed to attend public schools.

He also signed a second bill that bans mask mandates in any state or local government buildings, which include libraries, courthouses, and other public buildings.

Ducey’s office announced late Friday afternoon that he had signed the two bills—House Bill 2086 (pdf) and House Bill 2453 (pdf)—along with 18 others. The measures will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns its ongoing 2022 session.

The two bills mark the latest efforts by majority Republican lawmakers to limit what they have called government overreach. All House and Senate Republicans voted for the two measures, with no support from any Democrats.

The text of H.B. 2086 says that "immunization against COVID-19 or any of its variants is not required for school attendance in Arizona." It also says that it "[r]equires an immunization to be required by [Department of Homeland Security] rule before the immunization is permitted to be required for in-person school attendance."

The latter bill, H.B. 2453, will prohibit any local or state government from "imposing any requirement to wear a mask or face covering on the governmental entity's premises, except where long-standing workplace safety and infection control measures that are unrelated to COVID-19 may be required."

Ducey, a Republican, has already signed other legislation this year targeting COVID-19 related restrictions. In April, he signed into law a measure to block government entities from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for employees, and another measure blocking schools from enforcing masks for students under 18, unless their parents explicitly approve.

Ducey had previously backed COVID-19 restrictions early in the pandemic prior to joining many other Republican in opposing mandates. The governor had ordered business closures, issued orders requiring mask-wearing at public schools, and did not object when municipalities and county governments issued mask mandates during 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.