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Arizona can't use COVID money for anti-mask grants, feds say

Doug Ducey
Posted at 5:29 PM, Oct 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 17:32:13-04

On Tuesday, the Biden administration ordered Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to stop using the state's federal pandemic funding on a pair of new education grants that can only be directed to schools without mask mandates.

In a letter to Ducey, the Treasury Department said the grant programs are "not a permissible use" of the funding.

The news comes as the Biden administration tries to push back against Republican governors who have opposed mask mandates and seek ways to use federal pandemic funding to advance their agendas, the Associated Press reported.

Ducey, a Republican, created the grant programs in August to pressure school districts that have defied the state's ban on mask mandates.

According to the AP, Ducey's first grant program made only $163 million available to schools without mask mandates.

The other one he launched is a $10 million grant program that makes vouchers available to those whose children attend a public school that requires masks or must isolate if exposed to COVID-19, the AP reported.

The Treasury Department said the conditions "undermine evidence-based efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."

The governor's office said it is reviewing the letter and plans to respond.