The North Dakota House of Representatives has passed a bill that will make any future face mask mandates illegal in the state.
House bill 1323 passed 50-44 on Monday and is now headed to the state Senate, the Grand Forks Herald reported
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jeff Hoverson who described the mandates as ‘diabolical silliness’ said: “our state is not a prison camp”
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The Hill reports: The bill comes three months after North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) imposed a statewide mask mandate, though the governor himself had previously expressed skepticism over such a move.
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Jeff Hoverson (R), called mask mandates “diabolical silliness,” characterizing them as a conspiracy run by “unelected, wealthy bureaucrats who are robbing our freedoms and perpetuating lies,” the Herald reported.
The number of COVID-19 cases declined after Burgum’s mask mandate. The Herald also notes that health experts have attributed the drop to a combination of factors, including restrictions on businesses and increased social distancing.
According to the newspaper, several GOP supporters of the state bill said they believe that mask wearing does nothing to slow the spread of COVID-19. Multiple health experts, including the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, have stated that mask wearing is essential to overcoming the coronavirus pandemic.
The newspaper noted that masks are required in both chambers of the state legislature. However, the rule is not strictly enforced with House Speaker Kim Koppelman noting that the rule may be reexamined in the coming weeks.