Bill Prohibiting Gov’t Mask Mandates Squeaks by ND House– For Now

HB 1323 passed the ND House on a vote of 50-44. If it became law, this bill would prohibit the state and local governments from mandating masks. (Photo via Facebook.)

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.

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Sources:

  1. North Dakota Bill Versions: HB 1323 (nd.gov)
  2. North Dakota Bill Video: HB 1323 (nd.gov)
  3. COVID-19 death rates by state: Feb. 22 (beckershospitalreview.com)
  4. Does Your State Have a Mask Mandate Due to Coronavirus? (aarp.org)
  5. Let’s Be Honest, We’re Being Asked to Mask Up- Forever – The Minuteman Blog
  6. North Dakota Legislative Branch Video (nd.gov)
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About T. Arthur Mason 818 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.