Last week, the Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee held a hearing to discuss House File 604. This bill would codify the state’s mask mandate into state statute.
I am opposed to this legislation and did not vote for it in committee. My inbox has been flooded with emails from constituents urging me to oppose this legislation and putting this mandate in law is unwise and I will continue to oppose it whenever I can.
HF 604 includes harsh penalties for non-compliance, including massive fines. It also requires small businesses, which are already struggling, to police the mandate.
An individual found in violation of the mask mandate would be subject to a petty misdemeanor and fined up to $100.
When a business is found to be out of compliance, the owner, manager, or supervisor would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to 90 days. Further, the business would be potentially subject to a civil penalty of up to $25,000.
This bill codifies the one-size-fits-all approach that we have seen since the beginning, and puts the federal government in charge of when the mandate would end—not state legislators or Governor Walz. These decisions should be made at the local level, by the people who live and work in our community, instead of politicians in Washington, D.C.
I will keep you updated on this bill as it moves through the legislative process.
In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to me to share your thoughts on this bill and any other legislation being considered in St. Paul. I can be reached at 651-296-4229 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great day,