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Bill to prevent mask mandates gets “do not pass” recommendation from Senate committee

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A bill to prevent mask mandates in the state got voted down by a Senate committee on Thursday.

House Bill 1323 passed the House but could face an uncertain future in the Senate, with a do not pass recommendation from the Senate Political Subdivisions Committee.

The bill heard hours of testimony from both sides, and the hearing room had a crowd waiting outside to get in.

Lawmakers who sponsored the bill say it protects individual freedom, but others who testified say the mask mandate has worked in North Dakota.

“There’s ample data that when our communities masked up, our grandmas and grandpas lived, and when they didn’t, they died in large numbers,” said Dr. Stephen McDonough, a former pediatrician.

North Dakota was under a mask mandate from mid-November through January, and during that time cases dropped significantly.

The full Senate will vote on the bill in the coming weeks.

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