BILL UPDATE: HB 1323 regarding mask mandates
HB 1323, the bill to prohibit mask mandates, was voted on by the Senate on April 7. GNDC opposed this bill in its original form, not to debate on the efficacy of masks during this pandemic but because the broad language removed the rights of businesses to mandate safety equipment within their operations.
We were not alone in our opposition. Other organizations were against the potential ramifications of this bill and like GNDC, issued action alerts. Due to the response from business leaders and other constituents, the concerns of business were elevated to attention. We worked with the Senate on an amendment to the bill, ensuring business rights and decisions regarding safety equipment weren't impacted by the passage. For example, because of the amendment surgeons or welders wouldn't be able to "opt-out" of employee-required equipment.
With a final passing vote of 37-10, the bill, which would prohibit the Governor and State Health Officer from issuing a statewide mask mandate, will now return to House of Representatives for further action - either concurrence with the amendment or conference committee to work towards mutual agreement.