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Pulaski County JP sues county judge over mask mandate

Justice Doug Reed claims in a lawsuit he was unconstitutionally prevented from attending a recent Quorum Court agenda meeting.

A Pulaski County justice of the peace is suing the county judge over a mandate to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or wear a mask in county buildings.

Justice Doug Reed was unconstitutionally prevented from attending a Feb. 8 Quorum Court agenda meeting because he was not wearing a mask or had proof of vaccination, according to the lawsuit filed Friday.

Reed was “unlawfully and illegally ordered to vacate the venue of the Quorum Court in Pulaski County by the county executive, thereby preventing him from performing his legislative function for the people of Pulaski County as a Justice of the Peace,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also contends the requirement unconstitutionally violates Reed’s religious beliefs.

County Judge Barry Hyde told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he has received no religious exemption request from Reed and that a recent court ruling found a state ban on government mask mandates are unconstitutional.

Reed also claimed that not allowing him to attend the meeting prevented him from collecting a $506.17 per diem payment plus payment of his medical insurance.

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