Arkansas lawmakers reject bid to end coronavirus emergency

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FILE – In this March 23, 2020 file photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, right, speaks during a news conference in Little Rock, Ark. Gov. Hutchinson on Thursday, March 25, 2021 signed a law banning transgender women and girls from competing in school sports teams consistent with their gender identity. (Staton Breidenthal/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers have rejected an effort to end the emergency declared in the state because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Arkansas Legislative Council made the move on Monday, effectively voting to allow the governor to keep his emergency powers to curb the virus’ spread for another two months. Gov. Asa Hutchinson urged lawmakers to allow him to continue the emergency declaration, saying ending it would send the wrong message.

Hutchinson last month lifted most of the restrictions issued because of the virus and has said the state is on track to end its mask mandate on March 31.

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