In March, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared a public health emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state of emergency does not continue indefinitely; it may not continue for longer than 60 days unless the declaration is renewed by the governor, and the General Assembly has the power to terminate the state of emergency. The governor’s declaration is expected to be debated in the coming legislative session.
In our new explainer, we describe the circumstances under which officials in Arkansas and select states may declare a public health emergency, the process for declaring a public health emergency, and the scope of the public health authority.