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Arkansas Supreme Court refuses to toss LEARNS Act suspension

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(The Center Square) – The Arkansas Supreme Court on Friday refused to issue a stay that would have lifted the suspension of the LEARNS Act.

Circuit Court Judge Herbert T. Wright suspended implementation of the law until a June 20 hearing. At issue is whether or not lawmakers should have taken a separate vote on the emergency clause that makes the act effective on the governor’s signature.

The justices ordered both parties to submit briefs by Tuesday, with replies due by Wednesday, according to the court record.

Attorney General Tim Griffin asked the Supreme Court to issue a stay on Wright’s order that would toss the suspension, saying it hurt the school systems.

“Consequently, while LEARNS will still be law on August 1, the order (unless this Court blocks it) means that until then, the State may not continue school safety or human trafficking training, hire tutors, fund 12-week maternity leave or teacher raises, or compose working groups for the ‘numerous’ necessary rules,'” Griffin said in the motion. “That denies benefits to students and teachers now and means that other provisions will not be up and running in time for this school year.”

The plaintiffs contend the emergency clause is invalid because lawmakers did not vote separately on an emergency clause for the LEARNS bill that would make the bill effective immediately.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has repeatedly called the lawsuit “absurd.”

“By playing political games with our kids’ futures, the radical left is halting teacher pay raises, school safety trainings, literacy coach hiring, and our new maternity leave program — sowing unnecessary turmoil in schools,” Sanders said in a Twitter post. “I thank the Attorney General for continuing to defend the LEARNS Act and look forward to the Supreme Court deciding this case next week.”

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