Arkansas Senate votes to refund virus fines to businesses

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson removes his mask before a briefing at the state capitol Monday‚ July 2020 in Little Rock. As more states are enacting requirements for people to wear masks to curb a surge of coronavirus cases, they’re facing resistance from the police expected to enforce those orders. Several law enforcement agencies in Arkansas have said they won’t enforce Hutchinson’s mask mandate that took effect this week. (Staci Vandagriff/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Senate has voted to refund the fines the state has collected from some businesses for violating coronavirus safety rules.

The Senate on Thursday approved the measure by a 19-14 vote as Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s office said he would make a significant announcement about the emergency he declared for the pandemic.

The bill now heads to the House.

Hutchinson has faced pushback from some fellow Republicans over the virus safety rules, including a mask mandate and capacity limits for bars and restaurants.

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