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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL)

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Reps. Boldon and Liebling Statements on Mask Bill

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – On Tuesday, February 9th, the Minnesota House Health Finance and Policy Committee held a public hearing on HF 604, a bill which would codify a statewide mask policy. Masks have proven to be an effective measure in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and this bill would ensure the mask requirement stays in place without relying on Governor Walz’s executive order. Reps. Liz Boldon and Tina Liebling (DFL - Rochester) both support the legislation.

“As a practicing nurse for nearly 20 years, and someone who believes in science and listening to experts, I understand the efficacy of masking- especially now in our fight against COVID-19. I’m grateful the steps we have taken have reduced the number of daily cases and that we’re on a path to increase vaccinations, but COVID-19 remains a significant danger in our communities; the emergence of variants is especially concerning,” Rep. Boldon said. “With this bill we are acknowledging as a Legislature how critical masks are in slowing the spread and keeping each other safe. By moving to codify the Governor’s executive order into law we are emphasizing the importance of this policy and taking responsibility for our role in governing.”

“COVID-19 trends are headed in the right direction, but it’s important for all of us to take steps to protect one another. Our committee heard irrefutable expert testimony that masks markedly reduce the spread of the virus,” said Rep. Liebling, Chair of the House Health Finance & Policy Committee. “While we continue our efforts to get Minnesotans vaccinated, we must continue wearing masks and following other safety precautions until we get past this crisis.”

The current version of the bill requires individuals six or older to wear face coverings:

  • Indoors at a business or public setting
  • Waiting outdoors to enter an indoor setting
  • On public transportation, in school transportation, in a ride-sharing vehicle
  • Outdoors when distancing isn’t possible
  • In a common area of a multi-unit dwelling 

Exemptions include:

  • Individuals with medical and mental health conditions that make mask wearing unreasonable
  • Persons age five or younger
  • Situations that would create a job hazard
  • Private living units/private vehicles

The mandate would expire when the CDC issues guidance that does not include a recommendation to wear a mask, or when the Minnesota Department of Health determines that a face covering requirement is no longer necessary.

Presentation slides and other supporting materials are available on the committee’s webpage. Video recording of today’s hearing will be made available on the House Public Information YouTube channel.