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SC AG has yet to file lawsuit against Columbia Mayor over mask mandate

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 6:53 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Friday was the deadline the Attorney General’s Office gave to Mayor Steve Benjamin to rescind his mask mandate for schools or face legal repercussions.

READ | Here are the temporary SC laws related to COVID-19, schools, masks and vaccines

To date, however, no lawsuit has been filed against the City of Columbia.

The Attorney General’s Office says they are weighing their options.

Attorney General Alan Wilson says there has been no movement on the decision to file a possible lawsuit yet.

Ealier this week Wilson told Mayor Steve Benjamin he had until August 13 to rescind the mask ordinance.

In a letter sent to the mayor, the attorney general said the city’s ordinance goes against state law. He said he hoped he and the mayor can resolve the issue before legal action was taken.

Mayor Benjamin fired back saying he fundamentally disagrees with the attorney general’s opinion and that the city’s government has the constitutional authority and responsibility to preserve the lives, safety, health, and welfare of the city.

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Richland One School District released their mask guidance policy yesterday saying they “strongly encourage” students to wear masks.

WIS called the district to ask if the schools inside the city limits were going to make masks mandatory, which would align with Mayor Benjamin’s orders.

A spokesperson for the district, Karen York, said their protocol states masks are strongly encouraged.

She also said they have called a special school board meeting to talk about face masks.

That board meeting is set to begin at 6 p.m. on Monday.

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