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Mask mandate bill passes -- on its way to Gov. Burgum

A bill to prevent the Governor or other state officials from imposing a mask mandate as a health protection is now on its way to Gov. Burgum.

That, after the House agreed with the Senate changes to the measure.

As introduced, HB 1323 would have prohibited state and local officials from imposing a mask mandate. The Senate changed it to state officials only.

Rep. Jason Dockter (R-Bismarck)  told the House this is a reasonable compromise.

"The mask mandate is a local issue, and it will stay a local issue," Dockter said.

The bill’s main sponsor – Rep. Jeff Hoverson (R-Minot) – agreed.

"We have two options," Hoverson said on the House floor. "Do we trust 750,000 people, interacting with each other, the medical field and educating themselves to navigate through hard times, as we always have? Or do we trust the blunt force of a mandate?"

The House vote was 67 to 24.  Since the Senate passed this version of the bill, it now goes to Gov. Burgum's desk.

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