Perhaps no issue has been more controversial over the course of the last year than mask mandates. In some respects, we might even say that the issue has significantly contributed to the current divide in our nation.
The debate has touched every level of government— federal, state, and local. It’s affected businesses, schools, families, friendships, and often remains a dominant topic on social media. If we’re honest, it’s brought out the worst in some.
Rep. Jeff Hoverson (R – District 3) wants to take government out of the equation when it comes to mask mandates. House Bill 1323 hit the House floor today. If it were to become law, no level of government in our state could issue a mask mandate again.
And beyond that, the legislation also “prohibits making use of a face mask, shield, or covering a condition for entry, education, employment, or services.” Again, this would apply only to state and local governments — and their elected officials — not private businesses.
As you can see here in the debate today, opposition to HB 1323 wanted to make this a local control issue. But when the dust settled, that — surprisingly — wasn’t the winning argument. The bill passed by a slim two-vote margin of 50-44.
Among other things, proponents of HB 1323 argue that there’s no consistent data supporting the idea that mask mandates are effective in battling the Coronavirus. Quite frankly, it’s a fair argument. Some of the states with the worst death rates have had mandates in place the longest.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t believe all those arguing against Hoverson’s bill fully comprehend exactly what they’re doing. As I wrote back in December, proponents of mask mandates are asking us to “mask up” forever. There’s no way around it. Even if some of them don’t realize it themselves.
With HB 1323’s passage, it’s slated to hit the Senate— at least for now. Apparently, because the vote was so close, there might be pressure to bring it back to the House floor on Tuesday for reconsideration. In other words— a do over in hopes of swinging some votes and killing the bill.
As Rep. Dan Ruby (R – District 38) pointed out in the debate, it’s time to end this madness. These mandates do a far better job of controlling people than they do a virus. And because of that, I remain unconvinced that’s the type of “local control” that we need.
If you haven’t done so already, you should contact your representatives and tell them you want to see HB 1323 become law.
PLEASE LIKE & SHARE!
- North Dakota Bill Versions: HB 1323 (nd.gov)
- North Dakota Bill Video: HB 1323 (nd.gov)
- COVID-19 death rates by state: Feb. 22 (beckershospitalreview.com)
- Does Your State Have a Mask Mandate Due to Coronavirus? (aarp.org)
- Let’s Be Honest, We’re Being Asked to Mask Up- Forever – The Minuteman Blog
- North Dakota Legislative Branch Video (nd.gov)