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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday he regrets signing a bill into law that banned local mask mandates in the state.

State of play: Hutchinson has called on the state legislature to amend the law to let school districts decide whether to require face coverings when they return to in-person learning this fall.

What he's saying: "There is no state wide mask mandate. I'm not in favor of a statewide mask mandate," Hutchinson said at a news conference. "There are no government vaccine mandates as well, but we do have a vulnerable group that is not eligible for the vaccine."

  • "The local school districts should make the call and they should have more options to make sure that their school is a safe environment during a very challenging time for education."

Catch up fast: Hutchinson signed the bill as COVID-19 cases were declining in March.

  • "In hindsight, I wish that it had not become law," he said Tuesday.

What to watch: The Arkansas state legislature will begin a special session on Wednesday at 10 a.m. local time to look into the face coverings ban.

By the numbers: Arkansas has seen a 517% increase in new cases among people under age 18 between April and July, said Jose Remero, the state's health secretary, at the news conference. That number is 690% for children 12 and under.

  • Hospitalizations among people under 18 have increased nearly 270% in that time.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Federal judge overturns Texas mask mandate ban for public schools

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) ban on mask mandates in state public schools "violates" the rights of students with disabilities.

Why it matters: U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote in the ruling that the Americans with Disabilities Act overrides Abbott's order issued earlier this year prohibiting government entities in the state, including public schools, from requiring masks.

Momentum builds to ban lawmakers from trading stocks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some progressive Democrats and MAGA Republicans are uniting on a proposal to ban sitting lawmakers from trading individual stocks, although it's unlikely that leadership will bring the bill up for a vote.

Why it matters: Members of Congress have great power to move stock prices, and great financial incentives to do so.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: The Weather Prediction Center said in a storm summary Monday that winter storm warnings are still in effect for portions of the Central Appalachians, Ohio Valley, interior Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast, while portions of the Central Appalachians and coastal New England are under high wind warnings.