Bill prohibiting COVID-19 mandates passes Texas senate committee
Senate Bill 29 prohibits state and local governments from implementing mask or vaccine mandates to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The bill also prohibits mandatory school or business closures.
AUSTIN, Texas (KLTV) - Senate Committee has passed bill prohibiting local and state governments from implementing COVID-19 mandates for masks, vaccines, and closures.
Monday the The Senate Committee for State Affairs heard arguments about and eventually passed Senate Bill 29, which prohibits state and local governments from implementing mask or vaccine mandates to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The bill also prohibits mandatory school or business closures.
The committee heard arguments for and against the bill for around 12 minutes and passed it with a vote 7 ayes and 3 nays after reconvening from a recess.
The bill was authored by Sen. Brian Birdwell, (R-Granbury) who referenced Gov. Gregg Abbott’s executive orders GA 38 and GA 39, both orders that prohibit COVID-19 mandates, which would expire if the state disaster declaration is not renewed.
The State Affair Committee’s chairman is Sen. Bryan Hughes, (R-Mineola) who made a Facebook post Monday about the committee meeting where he referenced the bill among others.
Sen. Birdwell called the various mandates put into place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 a “hodge-podge” and a “patchwork.” Birdwell also stressed that the prohibitions of the bill only applied to COVID-19 and its variants.
During public testimony for SB 29 it saw support from Rebecca Hardy, of Texans for Vaccine Choice who argued that these mandates encroached on Texan’s liberties and had significant negative impact on education, mental health, and the economy.
Also in support of the bill was Tom Glass, representing Texas Constitutional Enforcement who argued these mandates violated the right to due process. Glass also claimed that science has proven masks don’t work to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Testifying in opposition of the bill was Dr. Valerie Smith, a pediatrician from Tyler. Smith is also the Smith County Health Authority and was testifying on behalf of the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Pediatric Society.
Smith who believed the mandates were key in saving lives and stopping the spread of COVID-19. Smith argued that a deadly outbreak of COVID-19 or one of its variants could be isolated regionally or locally and that it would hinder the response to such an outbreak if these tools were taken away from local governments.
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