The North Dakota House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that would “prohibit state and local officials, schools and businesses from mandating face masks.”
The bill passed by a narrow margin in a 50—44 vote and will now go to the State Senate, according to reporting by the Grand Forks Herald.
Republican North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum put a statewide face coving mandate in place three months ago, but it reportedly expired in January. Before the mask mandate was enforced across the state, other cities and counties — including Fargo, Grand Forks, and Bismarck — had already required masks in public.
The sponsor of the bill, Republican state Rep. Jeff Hoverson, said North Dakota should be free like South Dakota. The Grand Forks Herald reported in January that both states’ coronavirus case numbers have dropped, while North Dakota imposed a mask mandate and its southern neighbor did not, rather providing information to citizens and allowing them to make the decision