Many GOP lawmakers disobeying mask-wearing rules in their own capitols

Many Republican lawmakers are rejecting statewide masked mandates not only in states where coronovirus cases and hospitals have increased. They are also opposing the necessary rules in their own capitals.

Outbreaks of the virus have also been observed in state warehouses requiring lawmakers and employees to wear masks or where the Republican governor has issued a statewide mandate, which has also been given a grand welcome. It is an echo of a nationwide division over a simple move that health experts say proves to help keep others safe.

“We’re modeling for our constituents and for our residents in our state,” said Arkansas State Sen. Stephanie Flowers, a Democrat in the majority-Republican Legislature, who proposed a rule that would allow senators to wear masks or be at risk Need to fall. Payment per lamp. “You have asked the governor to make everyone wear masks and distance themselves socially. It’s not that I’m asking for something that no one has heard of.”

Many legislatures are still planning and drafting rules for their 2021 legislative sessions, while four congregations have approved the necessary rules for this year’s sessions, according to the National Conference Legislative Assemblies.

According to data compiled by the Associated Press, around 200 legislators nationwide have tested positive for the virus and four have died of COVID-19. At least four dozen Mississippi lawmakers tested positive in the largest outbreak in a legislature, where masks were encouraged, but not required by lawmakers.

The Missouri Legislature postponed a special session among lawgivers focused on virus relief after a COVID-19 outbreak, and a Tennessee lawmaker said he would spend Thanksgiving with his mother after attending a hearing Will not be able where MLAs were not wearing masks.

Health experts have warned that the public is taking their time away from elected officials when those officials are trying to restrict or discourage indoor ceremonies that are increasing rapidly in cases.

“We know it works, but if political leaders do not stand behind their public health officials and say that we need to do so, a significant part of the public cannot abide,” Dr. Jeffrey Levy, Professor of Health Policy at George University of Washington.

Legislators have taken steps to try to limit the virus, allowing some remote voting and others to hold meetings in larger venues. Arkansas House, for example, met in a basketball arena for two seasons last season, but will return to the Capitol next year.

Twelve Arkansas lawmakers have tested positive for the virus in the past month, the second-largest outbreak in a state legislature.

The latest outbreak began last month after summoning MPs in the Capitol for a budget hearing. The budget panel had adopted a mask rule that required lawmakers not to talk, drink or wear in microphones when they were at least six feet away from other people.

Flowers has diabetes, which puts him at a higher risk of complications from the virus. He pulled down his proposal for a stricter rule in the Senate to make changes based on concerns raised about the measure, and to bring a redesigned version in January when lawmakers were called back Planned. House Speaker Matthew Shepherd said he expected the chamber to take a version similar to the Joint Budget Committee rule.

Republican Sen. Trent Garner called Flower’s proposal and its penalties “Drakean” and said the Legislature should be held to the same standard as the statewide mask mandate GOP government. Asa Hutchinson was signed earlier this year.

“We don’t have to ‘rule each other’ when it comes to public safety,” Garner said.

Tennessee Democratic State Rep. Gloria Johnson tweeted on Tuesday that she would no longer have a Thanksgiving dinner with her mother after attending a legislative meeting with Republican members who did not wear masks.

“We are not having a Thanksgiving dinner (mom) with a large family because of COVID, but I was going to have dinner with her,” Johnson wrote, Johnson being around his legislator co-worker for the past two days That would mean she would “leave her food on the steps.”

House and Senate leaders in Oklahoma announced plans to apply masks to employees working inside the Capitol that two lawmakers tested positive last week. But MLA leaders acknowledge that individual MLAs cannot be forced to wear masks.

An outbreak among Missouri state senators that has postponed a special session focused on federal coronovirus assistance requires lawmakers not to wear masks. Republican senators are known to GOP Gov. Not wearing a mask was photographed with Mike Parsons during a caucus retreat.

“Senators have been encouraged by senators to wear masks, and many have done so,” said Senate President Pro Tem Dave Shahatz. “However, it is ultimately up to each individual to decide.

In some states, the fight between lawgivers is beyond masked rules about whether information about outbreaks in their capitals is being withdrawn. In Minnesota last week, Democrats in the state Senate demanded that the chamber’s majority leader resign his leadership post, as he and other Senate Republicans informed their Democratic colleagues and others of a possible COVID-19 outbreak of GOP rank Failed to do.

The Pennsylvania House has had a mask rule for its members since June, but a dozen of the chamber’s most conservative Republicans have routinely ignored the mandate, and their party leaders have not implemented it. The Democratic lawmaker tweeted on Friday that he had filed a complaint with the state health department for unsafe working conditions on the issue.

House Republicans in Ohio have also refused to allow lawmakers to wear masks at the statehouse, and a statewide mask mandate issued by the GOP government. Mike Devine has not been applied to them either.

The debate among lawmakers in Washington is mirroring the state capitals. Masks are required in the US House, but not in the US Senate. Senators on both sides regularly take off their masks to speak on the Senate floor, a practice that has received few pushback form Democrats.

Sen. Sherord Brown of the Ohio Democrat interrupted a floor speech Monday afternoon to put Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan on his mask as he chaired the Senate, noting that he might be exposed nearby Huh.

“I, like most senators, have not worn a mask when I’m speaking,” Sullivan replied, stating that he would put on the mask but “I don’t need your instruction.”

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