MINOT, N.D. – North Dakota’s Senate on Wednesday approved a ban on state-issued mask mandates.
House Bill 1323, brought by Rep. Jeff Hoverson, R-Minot, had passed the House 50-44. The Senate Political Subdivisions Committee gave the bill a 6-1 “do not pass” recommendation. Chairman Sen. Randy Burckhard, R-Minot, had called the bill banning state and local mask mandates “a knee-jerk reaction” to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sen. Jessica Bell, R-Beulah, introduced a floor amendment to disallow state elected officials and the state health officer from issuing a mask mandate. Cities, counties and school boards and businesses would be able to do so. She called the amendment a “compromise.”
“I am hoping that we can protect both our freedoms and our safety with these amendments,” Bell said.
The Senate approved the amendments 37-10 and passed the amended bill 30-17. The bill goes back to the House for concurrence.