NC Senate Votes To Ban People From Wearing Masks In Public: Check New Rules And Fine

On Wednesday, the Republican Lawmakers of North Carolina are moving forward with their plan to cancel a law that was passed in the Senate during the COVID-19 pandemic. The law permitted wearing masks in public places for various health reasons. The move to cancel this law has been driven by the protests being held outside several campuses, where people are sitting wearing masks. 

After an emotional discussion about this law, the Senate of North Carolina voted in favor of it because they thought it would make the identification of these protestors easier, as the police would be able to crack them down. Some lawmakers also highlighted that this bill is an urgent need as the protests regarding the war in Gaza are growing. 

The main person who presented the bill, Buck Newton, stated that it is urgent to slow down the state’s craziness rather than just stop it.

North Carolina Mask ban
North Carolina Mask ban

Divided along party lines, the bill passed in the Senate with a 30-15 vote. However, some Senate Democrats attempted to amend it. The legislation can still be amended when it moves back to the House because it increases the penalties for people who are found wearing a mask while committing a crime, including arrested protestors. 

The Democratic lawmakers emphasized that this bill might have several consequences because it bans not only protestors from wearing masks but also the general public of the state for medical reasons. The bill faced strong opposition from not just Democrats but also Community activists, health advocates, etc. 

However, those who supported the bill said that it was a necessity due to the ongoing protests at the University of North Carolina, which led to several arrests and police collisions. 

The legislation has also imposed a serious penalty and has criminalized the crime of road blockage and stopping public vehicles while protesting, which has recently happened in Durham and Raleigh during the protests.

Senate Ban Face Mask North Carolina
Senate Ban Face Mask North Carolina

The main reason with regard to opposing this bill is that it would no longer allow people to wear masks for any health reasons and this exemption was introduced during the pandemic and was supported by both parties. But now, pushing it back can lead to severe consequences. The Democrats said that this law will take the position of masking rules to its pre-pandemic stage.

During the Senate Rules Committee meeting on Wednesday, Simone Hetherington, a person with a weak immune system, stated that this law might stop her from protecting herself because wearing a mask is the only way she can avoid catching illnesses. 

However, Newton stated that the legislation will only target those who are using masks to conceal their identities, and it will be up to the discretion of the police personnel to decide who is using the mask for health reasons and who is using it in a negative way. 

By using a procedural method, the Republican lawmakers also rejected the amendments that were proposed by the Democrats in order to keep the health exemptions in place and prevent the protestors from using masks. But Buck Newton further stated that future changes can happen in the bill when it returns to the House.

Republican lawmakers in North Carolina pushing to ban masks
Republican lawmakers in North Carolina pushing to ban masks

Before the Senate vote, the Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Destin Hall, spoke to the news reporters and said the House is well intended to examine the legislation. The members of the house are addressing the problem of protests that are going around in the state and which are solely undertaken by people wearing masks and committing crimes. 

The new mask legislation will take almost two weeks to move back to the House because currently, it is passing through some committee checks.

Other bills which were passed in the Senate on Wednesday were:

  • Sex crime laws were updated to deal with new technologies, such as AI
  • Late toll road fees were increased by 50%
  • Billboard companies were allowed to cut more trees on the roads.
  • Partially making some changes in the Juvenile Justice Reforms by treating 16 and 17-year-olds as adults in some serious crime cases.
Megha Chauhan
Megha Chauhan
Megha Chauhan is an accomplished content writer who holds a degree in Law. Her extensive expertise in research and writing has helped her excel in this field. Her expertise spans from engaging blog posts and in-depth articles. Passionate about storytelling, Megha continually hones her skills to stay ahead of trends, ensuring her content remains fresh and impactful.

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