A lawsuit seeking to end Arkansas’ ongoing public health emergency and overturn many of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s executive actions related to the coronavirus pandemic was dismissed by Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen following a hearing Wednesday morning.
The ruling dismissed the lawsuit, which was brought by a group of right-wing lawmakers who have grown increasingly hostile to the Republican governor’s efforts to manage the pandemic.
Griffen said in a judge’s note posted on the court’s website Wednesday that lawmakers had previously approved the Health Department’s regulations regarding diseases, including novel coronaviruses.
“The Court holds that Governor Hutchinson's Executive Orders concerning the coronavirus infection pandemic associated with COVID-19 are within the powers delegated to the Governor by the General Assembly concerning the COVID-19 emergency and that the 2019 Rules of the Arkansas State Board of Health Pertaining to Reportable Diseases satisfy the rulemaking requirement of the Administrative Procedure Act insofar as the Secretary of Health is concerned,” the note read.
On Tuesday, Hutchinson announced that he was extending the state’s public health emergency declaration by another 60 days.