Bill to Ban Mask Mandates Passes Idaho Legislative Committee

By REBECCA BOONE, Related Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A invoice that might cease any authorities entity — together with native faculty boards — from issuing a masks mandate handed an Idaho legislative committee on Wednesday.

The laws is sponsored by St. Anthony Republican Rep. Karey Hanks, who has repeatedly tried to get a ban on masks mandates handed for the reason that coronavirus pandemic started. Final yr an identical ban from Hanks additionally made it out of the Home State Affairs Committee, however did not win the assist of the complete Legislature.

The federal government ought to concentrate on securing particular person rights and never “dictate well being selections,” Hanks informed the State Affairs Committee on Wednesday morning, shortly earlier than the invoice handed on a party-line vote.

“We’re on the level in Idaho the place we’re greater than able to cope with no matter dangers there are,” Hanks stated.

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One in each 136 individuals in Idaho examined constructive for COVID-19 up to now week, in response to a tally by Johns Hopkins College, and the state ranks seventeenth within the nation for brand new circumstances per capita. Idaho’s vaccination charges proceed to lag behind a lot of the nation, with roughly 52% of the state’s inhabitants absolutely vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19.

Stephanie Mickelsen, a potato farmer who serves on the board of trustees for the Faculty of Jap Idaho, urged the committee to vote in opposition to the invoice, saying it “tie the arms” of people who find themselves domestically elected by their communities and prevents them from doing what they really feel is finest for his or her communities.

“Authorities closest to the individuals is finest,” Mickelson stated. “What occurs when you’ve got one thing that’s much more important than COVID sooner or later?”

Dr. Lynn Laird, a psychologist from Meridian, spoke in favor of the invoice. Laird stated sporting a masks is “traumatic” for some individuals, and the federal government shouldn’t be allowed to “dictate what individuals do with their very own well being.”

Rep. Vito Barbieri, a Republican from Dalton Gardens and a member of the committee, additionally spoke in favor of the invoice and reiterated a declare that Hanks’ made when it was first launched: “I’m sure that if we had huge individuals dying within the streets as a result of the illness is as virulent because it presents, we wouldn’t want a masks mandate,” Barbieri stated.

No less than 4,497 Idaho residents have died from COVID-19 for the reason that pandemic started, in response to numbers from the Idaho Division of Well being and Welfare.

Dr. David Peterman, a pediatrician and the CEO of Major Well being Medical Group, wasn’t on the committee assembly however stated in a cellphone interview Wednesday that eradicating the flexibility of faculties to require masks would hurt youngsters by rising the probability that faculties would once more be pressured to shut.

There isn’t any credible proof to counsel that mask-wearing harms kids or adults, however a wealth of knowledge that reveals masks successfully cut back the unfold of COVID-19, serving to to maintain faculties open, Peterman stated.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics is the only most authoritative group in caring for youngsters, and it continues to unequivocally suggest sporting masks for youngsters in class,” Peterman stated. “We now have examples right here in Idaho the place there have been non-compulsory masks and in consequence the faculties wanted to be closed.”

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