The Legislature has okayed new rules for the 2021 Legislature – including a mask mandate.
There are some exceptions – but the rules say that if you’re on the floor of the House or Senate, you have to wear a mask, unless you’re speaking. And you do not have to mask up if you can be socially distanced.
Unlike the dustup over the temporary rules, these were approved by voice votes in each chamber.
"We need to protect us -- our families, our Legislative staff, our employees," Rep. Robin Weisz (R-Hurdsfield) told the House. "Stop and think -- what would we do if our front desk was out with COVID? What would we do if half our clerks couldn't be here? This operation shuts down."
On the Senate side, Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) said he wants to make sure Legislators can be in Bismarck to finish the session on time.
One House rule will be revisited in January – the proposed rule would allow committee chairmen to make a determination about the size of crowds in their hearing rooms. That rule was not adopted at this time.