Bill to Ban Public Mask Wearing Emerging in North Carolina

( – Lawmakers in North Carolina are pushing a ban on public mask-wearing, which was popular during the pandemic for health reasons.

However, the reason that these Republican lawmakers are pushing this bill is due to the people who are committing crimes, protesting, and hiding out while wearing masks, hiding their identity.

People in masks camping out on college campuses have been one of the main reasons that lawmakers have been drawn to this bill.

The legislation passed the bill, which would raise penalties for anyone who wears a mask while committing a crime, which included arrested protestors. Although the bill could still be altered, it has made it thus far despite changes from the State Democrats.

Those who oppose the bill mainly say that it puts those at risk who are wearing masks for health purposes. On the other hand, those who back the bill say that this is necessary in response to protests or demonstrations such as what happened at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The bill also criminalizes those who block roads or emergency vehicles when partaking in a protest as well, which is something that has happened in pro-Palestine protests in Raleigh and Durham.

The bill was initially presented by Wilson County Republican Sen. Buck Newton, who said, “It’s about time that the craziness is at least slowed down, if not put to a stop.”

The backlash is mostly centered around the health and safety aspect of masks, with fears that those who need masks for health reasons won’t be permitted to wear one. Democratic Sen. Natasha Marcus spoke on the Senate floor, saying, “You’re making careful people into criminals with this bill,” and, “It’s a bad law.”

Three Senate Democrats proposed amendments that would exempt those with health reasons, but that was immediately blocked. There could potentially be more changes to the bill before it’s put into full effect.

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