The North Dakota House of Representatives passed a bill that would avoid rules requiring masks, a mandate one lawmaker called “diabolical nonsense.”
The state’s lower house voted 50-44 on Monday to ban state and local governments, schools and businesses from petitioning for mask mandates amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Grand Forks Herald reported.
The bill will go to the Senate side.
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Rep. Jeff Hoverson, sponsor of the bill, has characterized the mask requirements as “diabolical nonsense.”
“The mask is part of a larger apparatus of a movement of wealthy, unelected bureaucrats, who are stealing our freedoms and perpetuating lies,” said Hoverson, reported Prairie Public Press.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jason Dockter argued that banning the masks would take control away from local governments.
“If people wanted to decide to have a mask mandate, they should have that option,” Dockter said. “They should also have the option not to issue a mandate.”
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The possible legislation comes after North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum imposed a statewide mask mandate in November.
“From the beginning, we have taken a data-driven approach to our response to the pandemic, focusing on saving lives and livelihoods,” Burgum said at the time. “Right now, the data calls for a higher level of mitigation efforts to reverse these dangerous trends, slow the spread of this virus, and avoid the need for economic shutdowns.”
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