LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and a coalition of 23 state attorneys general have sued President Biden’s U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) to block the administration’s Head Start vaccine and masking mandate. The Biden administration’s rule requires Head Start teachers, staff, and volunteers to be vaccinated and requires universal masking for children as young as two years old. This mandate will cause teachers to leave the classroom and deny children a place to learn. Head Start Programs are vital to educating Arkansas’s students, and President Biden’s latest mandate will have disproportionate effects on minority communities across Arkansas and America.
“President Joe Biden continues his federal overreach and this time he’s reaching into classrooms across Arkansas,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Requiring vaccines for every volunteer and teacher, and masks for two-year-old children is gross federal overreach.”
The federal Head Start program provides educational and related services to low-income families of preschool-age children. Arkansas has 177 Head Start locations for children 3-5 years old and 130 Early Head Start locations for children from infant to 3 years old.
The states allege that the Biden Administration’s Head Start mandate is arbitrary, capricious and beyond the executive branch’s authority, while also violating the notice-and-comment process, which would have allowed the public to express their view on the rule as required by law.
The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana and led by the Louisiana Attorney General. Attorney General Rutledge joined the lawsuit led by Louisiana and signed on by the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
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