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Bill preventing state-issued mask mandates passes House

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A bill to prevent statewide mask mandates has officially passed both the House and Senate, as of Monday.

Representatives voted 67 to 24 to prohibit a statewide elected official, namely the governor, from enacting a mask requirement.

The bill initially limited all mandates, but after an amendment, it now allows cities, counties, schools and businesses to make their own requirements.

Lawmakers say the amendment allows for local control while preventing executive overreach — pointing to the state health officer’s mask mandate last November.

“This is a great compromise if there ever was one. I would hope that we would recognize that we’ve really come at that halfway point, and this bill now deserves far more than those original 50 votes,” Rep. Rick Becker said.

The bill becomes law only if Gov. Doug Burgum signs it. He has supported mask usage and the health officer’s November mandate. If he vetoes the bill, lawmakers could override that veto with a two-thirds vote.

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