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Local lawmakers respond to passage of Senate Bill 1, nullifying school mask mandate

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2021 at 6:52 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Local lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are responding to the legislature passing a bill that nullifies the state mask mandate for schools.

Senate Bill 1 includes the ban on the statewide mask mandate in schools. This means that local school districts will now have to make decisions on masks.

Representative Patti Minter (D-Bowling Green) voted against the contentious Senate bill 1.

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Minter says a majority of the legislature is making masks political when that doesn’t need to be the case.

“We know that masks mandates have saved lives and are trying to slow the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. I’ve heard from teachers I’ve heard from parents, one teacher wrote and said, people have no idea how hard it is out here,” said Minter. “I’m proud to have voted no, I’m sorry that this passed, and I think history will judge very harshly. Those people who did not stand up for our teachers, our children, our communities and our public health.”

Minter says that she believes the local school districts liked having to fall back on the state board’s decision fo the statewide mask mandate.

“We see very clearly around the state that school boards and superintendents did like the cover that this gave them. This masking mandate, political football is unnecessary. It’s a manufactured issue. This is something that keeps people safe. It’s basic public health. It saves lives and keeps people healthy, and keeps businesses open and keep schools open,” she said.

WBKO News also spoke with Representative Steve Sheldon (R-Bowling Green) as well who voted in favor of SB 1 and says the goal of the portion that nullifies the mask mandate, was to give the power back to the local school boards.

“It’s important, it’s very important to know that SB one did not ban facemask mandates altogether. And instead, it allowed individual childcare centers and local school boards to kind of make those important decisions based on the needs of that particular community,” said Sheldon. “The governor was, was upset, because he didn’t have complete control and power over the decisions being made in the state.”

Gov. Andy Beshear says the legislature made the wrong move regarding mask guidance.

“The legislature asked to go in, to go in as QB, and what did they do, they punted on first down,” said Gov. Beshear.

Sheldon is responding to the governor’s remarks from earlier when he said that the legislature isn’t doing all it can to protect Kentuckians. The local lawmaker says Beshear had too much power before.

“What we’re asking him to do is, is really exercise the powers that are given to him by the Constitution and was given to every other governor, prior to his coming in office. There was a reason for the last number of decades, we didn’t have to pass a bill such as this, concerning emergency powers, nobody else decided to govern in the manner he was governing without communicating with the other forms of government.”

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