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Pennsylvania governor pushing for law requiring mask mandates in schools

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is pushing for lawmakers to return to session to pass a law requiring mask mandates in schools.

In a letter seen by The Associated Press, Wolf asked state Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R) and state House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R) to come back to Harrisburg, saying that as of July only 59 schools in the state indicated they were implementing a mask mandate. The state has 474 school districts.

Wolf said the masks are needed to protect students from the coronavirus and that he has “become increasingly concerned about misinformation being spread to try to discredit a school district’s clear ability to implement masking.”

The “local control [is] being usurped by the threat — implicit or explicit — of political consequences for making sound public health and education decisions,” Wolf wrote, according to the AP.

House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R) told the AP the House is against implementing a mask mandate.

Wolf’s power to implement coronavirus restrictions has been curtailed after state residents voted to pass a constitutional amendment to give much of his power to respond to the pandemic to the state legislature.

GOP governors in states such as Texas and Florida have taken the opposite of Wolf’s approach, banning local governments from mandating masks in schools, which has prompted pushback from districts and educators.

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