Mask Mandate Expiration Is Burgum Protecting Emergency Powers
MINOT, N.D. — There is a movement afoot in the Legislature to, by way of various bills, to end Gov. Doug Burgum’s current emergency order, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, and to diminish the emergency powers of the governor’s office going forward. Bastiat Caucus founder and anti-masking zealot Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck) is leading the charge with proposals ranging from a relatively sane resolution terminating Burgum’s current emergency declaration to a bill which create, in law, a moratorium on paying the state’s top public officials — including heads of agencies like the Department of Health and Department of Emergency Services — if any policy like a curfew or capacity restrictions are implemented on businesses. Could these efforts be successful? I’m doubtful. Becker is an expert at drawing the spotlight to himself, but then car wrecks draw crowds too. His political clout has never been what he’d like you to believe it is. That said, we live in strange political times, and for reasons as confounding as those that drove a violent mob to attack the U.S. Capitol last week, the masking issue has become a political flashpoint in our state and our country. Rhetorical bomb-throwers like Becker have been exploiting it. This brings us to Gov. Doug Burgum’s announcement today that he’ll be letting North Dakota’s mask mandate expire at 8 a.m. Monday.