House Bill 339 — Mask mandates, prohibited

House Bill 339 — Mask mandates, prohibited

by
Parrish Miller
March 16, 2021
Parrish Miller
March 16, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 339 would prevent the state or its local political subdivisions from mandating mask-wearing for health purposes.

Rating: +4

Amendment Analysis: The Amendment to House Bill 339 does not change the rating. The amendment adds a short subsection stating that a violation of the bill's prohibitions by the state or a political subdivision "shall result in the termination of any disaster emergency or public health order, or both, in place when the state or a political subdivision engages in a prohibited action."

Analyst Note: House Bill 339 is similar to House Bill 281, but with two changes, one positive and one negative. The positive change is adding a subsection clarifying that an official (defined as "an officer or an employee of the state or a political subdivision") is also barred from requiring "that an individual in this state must use a face mask, face shield, or other face covering for the purpose of preventing or slowing the spread of a contagious or infectious disease." The negative change is exempting "any hospital or health care facility" from the requirements of this section. It is concerning that hospitals and health care facilities — including those operated or funded by the state — will be permitted to continue discriminating against and denying service to those who cannot or choose not to wear masks.

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?

House Bill 339 creates Section 67-2359, Idaho Code, to prohibit the state or political subdivisions within the state from requiring any person to "use a face mask, face shield, or other face covering for the purpose of preventing or slowing the spread of a contagious or an infectious disease."

It also says, "A face mask, face shield, or face covering shall not be required by the state or a political subdivision as a condition for entry, education, employment, or other services."

Finally, it establishes that, "if the state or a political subdivision recommends using a face mask, face shield, or face covering to prevent or slow the spread of a contagious or an infectious disease, such recommendation shall be accompanied by a notice that the recommendation is not mandatory."

Prohibiting government mask mandates will allow businesses to set their own policies for their customers rather than being required to enforce government mask mandates.

(+1)

Does it increase barriers to entry into the market? Examples include occupational licensure, the minimum wage, and restrictions on home businesses. Conversely, does it remove barriers to entry into the market?

Prohibiting government mask mandates in Idaho will increase access to the market for individuals who cannot or choose not to wear masks.

(+1)

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

In many places, failing to abide by a mask mandate is either an infraction or a misdemeanor. Prohibiting government mask mandates will protect people who don't wear masks from potential penalties.

(+1)

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

Prohibiting government mask mandates protects individual liberty and self-ownership by allowing people to make their own choices about mask wearing.

(+1)

View Comments
  • C ashton says:

    So is this the final hoop or are there more hurdles to jump? When is it in effect?

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