The North Dakota House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that prevents governments from imposing mask mandates.
The bill, which would prohibit state and local officials and schools from requiring face masks, passed with a vote of 50-44. It will now advance to the Senate.
Rep. Jeff Hoverson, the bill’s sponsor, has called the mask requirements “diabolical silliness.”
“They do not want North Dakota to get sucked into what is becoming obvious,” Hoverson said, the Prairie Public Press reported. “The mask is a part of a larger apparatus of a movement of unelected, wealthy bureaucrats, who are robbing our freedoms and perpetuating lies.”
This bill comes after North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum imposed a statewide mask mandate in November. Burgum had previously expressed skepticism of mask requirements but backtracked on his statements as the virus strained the state’s hospital capacity.
“Since the beginning, we’ve taken a data-driven approach to our pandemic response, focusing on saving lives and livelihoods,” Burgum said at the time. “Right now, the data demands a higher level of mitigation efforts to reverse these dangerous trends, to slow the spread of this virus, and to avoid the need for economic shutdowns.”
Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy
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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal
In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.
Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.
Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.
Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.
Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.
Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.
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