We elect our leaders in good faith, expecting them to use their place of power for the greater good. But recently our lawmakers have fallen short of this expectation. Some are even gambling with Arkansas lives.
During the past legislative session, Sen. Trent Garner filed a bill that would end mask mandates in our state (now Act 1002). This law is now Arkansas’ most urgent problem. We’re seeing another surge in COVID-19 cases, and school starts back in less than a month. Garner has left our students defenseless. Arkansas has reported two pediatric deaths; the new Delta variant is certain to infect our school-aged children under twelve. How many more Arkansas kids have to die because of Garner’s gamble?
Shockingly, Garner shows no remorse for passing this dangerous legislation. He even thanked On AR Watch when we called him out for this behavior. He called it “positive publicity” even though Arkansans are dying and the state’s hands are tied from protecting our children.
Royal Flush: Attorney Takes His Own Gamble
In response to the news of the lawsuit, Garner said it would take around a 30% mortality rate, the historical rate associated with confluent smallpox, before he’d consider supporting a mask mandate. Let that sink in for a second. Garner is willing to gamble away 30% of our population before he’ll fold– a stubborn and dangerous response. He went on to call Mars a “terrible stunt attorney,” failing to discredit Mars’ attempt to right Garner’s wrong.
Betting Away the Taxpayer Bankroll
Garner’s law is not only dagerous, it’s yet another example of our leaders’ erroneous use of tax dollars. In a statement, Tom Mars said he would not be charging his clients for his time on the lawsuit. Instead, if the case is successful, he will ask the courts to make the state of Arkansas pay his fees. Because of Garner’s gamble, more hard-earned tax money will be wasted on a lawsuit. Remember, this was 100% avoidable.
Leaders like Garner represent the absolute worst of government. Arkansans deserve better. Garner had an opportunity to do right by our students, but he chose to misuse his power and instead gamble with students’ lives. We are in full support of the lawsuit against Act 1002, and we hope for its success. The health and safety of every Arkansan depends on it.