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Idaho Politics

Legislation introduced to ban mask mandates in Idaho

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - An Idaho House panel took up legislation Tuesday to prohibit mask mandates by government entities that have been put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The House State Affairs Committee cleared the way for a potential hearing on the bill put forward by a dozen conservative Republican lawmakers.

Republican Rep. Karey Hanks said she had done research "on the physical and emotional and even mental injuries to our bodies, and possibly even our souls, as healthy individuals are required to wear these masks."

Hanks said face masks can help spread disease.

"When people wear face masks, they tend to not social distance as much, not tend to wash their hands, take other safety precautions because they feel that they're just taken care of because of the mask," she said.

However, health experts have consistently said that wearing masks slows the spread of the coronavirus.

GOP Gov. Brad Little has never issued a statewide mask mandate, though he wears a mask in public and encourages others to do so to slow the spread of the virus and maintain hospital capacity.

Seven counties and 11 cities have such mandates.

Under the bill, schools and universities wouldn't be able to require masks on campus. Private businesses could still require masks if the bill is eventually approved.

Officials report that the coronavirus has infected more than 170,000 Idaho residents and killed nearly 1,900.

Introductory hearings such as the one held Tuesday only explain a bil. Debate about its merits is reserved for a public hearing. It's not clear when a public hearing will be held on the mask legislation.

Idaho / Local News / News / Top Stories / Videos

Associated Press



  1. What the hell is WRONG with you idiots? A ‘mandate’–which carries neither enforcement NOR punishment for disregarding it–is NOT something we need ‘legislation’ to prevent in the future. Simply DISPLAYING your incompetence is insufficient? You need to LAUD it? 🙁

  2. I’ll disagree. Any mandate by a local entity that does not follow the rest of the state is ludicrous. States need preemption laws for basically all items.
    One example (other than masks) is guns. What if there was no state preemption law on carry or type of handguns carried in the state. It could be illegal to carry concealed in Pocatello but not in American Falls; thus a person could become illegal and not even know they were when they crossed that magic border line that is not there.

    If they legislature wants to pass a law like this I would totally agree with it. And just because YOU don’t like it, I’m sure won’t mean diddly to most people.

    On the face it looks stupid but that is part of our legislature process. Many bills look stupid to many people, while others, can look deeper into the subject and see where the problem could arrive.

    In the case of a mask, what happens if a city or health district decides to make it mandatory with NO EXCEPTIONS and actually gets LE to enforce the issue? And this is happening in a few states.

    Some people “laud” their incompetence to the public without even knowing it!

  3. I hate the friggin’ masks. They fog up my glasses, make it hard to breath and are uncomfortable. You say a little discomfort is worth not getting the Wuhan virus — so go ahead and wear the mask. I try to stay 6 feet away from anyone else, turn my head if I pass someone with a mask on (even though I know I don’t have the virus it might freak them out because I don’t choose to wear a mask), wash my hands often, use sanitizer on my hands while out and generally take care of myself to have a healthy body to fight any illness. I applaud legislation to add a little sanity to this disaster. And let’s find the source of the virus!!

  4. I agree, I don’t like masks either and very seldom wear one. I’m just talking about a law that outlaws mask mandates by city/county authorities.

    I just dislike a plethora of small gov’t entities within a state having their own ludicrous mandates.

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