A Pennsylvania state court rejected a mandate that requires students and teachers to wear masks in schools and child care facilities regardless of vaccination status Wednesday.
Republican Rep. Jesse Topper and Republican Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, along with parents and school entities, sued Pennsylvania’s acting health secretary over the mandate that was implemented in early September. Commonwealth Court voted 4-1 in favor of those who sued, ABC 6 reported.
The judge determined that Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam’s mandate violated the state’s laws in regard to approving regulations and required that an existing disaster emergency be declared by the governor before the mandate could take effect, ABC 6 reported.
Health secretaries do not have “the blanket authority to create new rules and regulations out of whole cloth, provided they are related in some way to the control of disease or can otherwise be characterized as disease control measures,” wrote Republican Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon for the majority, ABC 6 reported.
Cannon also reportedly said the judges do not express an opinion regarding the efficacy of masks or the politics surrounding the topic. (RELATED: Florida Surgeon General Says Unequivocally, ‘Data Does Not Support’ Masking School Children)
A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court panel has voided the Wolf administration’s K-12 mask mandate, ruling that acting state Health Secretary Alison Beam overstepped her authority by not going through the regulatory process. https://t.co/gYNme41OW9
— Marley Parish (@marley_parish) November 10, 2021
“It wasn’t the masks at all,” said Topper Wednesday, according to ABC 6. “It was about the idea of imposing a mandate like this on a healthy population of children outside any of the regulatory process that would normally have to go through or any of the legislative process you would normally have to go through.”
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday that authority over masking rules would return to school districts in January.