Unmasked crowd asks lawmakers to pass anti-mask mandate bill

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 7:48 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - An anti-mask mandate bill is getting a lot of attention at the State Capitol.

Last week when the bill was in committee, the room was overflowing. Now those in support of the bill have brought an even bigger crowd to the Capitol steps.

Lavonne Goetsch drove in from Belfield and Loanne Dick came from Dickinson for the UnMask Rally in Bismarck. They didn’t know each other before today, but said they’re not afraid of being face-to-face without masks.

“I believe if God wants me to die from meeting her, I’ll die,” said Lavonne Goetsch about Loanne Dick.

Nearly 100 other attendees echoed the same sentiment, that they’re fighting for their freedom to choose and they’re all choosing to remain unmasked.

“The perception from some of the Senators is that there’s just a few of us who are in favor of this bill and we want the Senators to truly understand that this isn’t just a few of us,” said Terra Dukart with Freedom Health ND.

HB 1323, which the rally attendees are in support of, would make it illegal for the government to enact mask mandates.

Some Senators said it wouldn’t just affect Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., it would also restrict decisions by school boards and counties regarding what public health measures they could put in place.

“They did not want that taken away. The ability to do a mask mandate if they thought it was appropriate in a particular situation,” said Sen. Howard Anderson, R-Turtle Lake.

With many of the protesters saying it takes away freedom, some lawmakers are saying protecting public health and safety is of upmost importance.

“Being a part of a society means we have to share some responsibility. With rights and freedoms comes responsibility to your fellow man and woman,” said Sen. Erin Oban, D-Bismarck.

Now the responsibility of deciding on the fate of this bill is up to the Senate, and then the governor if the bill passes.

With the bill just barely passing through the House and a do not pass recommendation from its Senate committee, its future in the Senate is uncertain. But it should be voted on by the end of this week.

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