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Colorado House Republicans protest mask requirements in Capitol courtrooms

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Colorado House Republicans protest mask requirements in Capitol courtrooms

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Colorado House Republicans, who largely do not wear face masks on Capitol Hill, fought Friday against a resolution that would require masks and social distancing for members of the public on Capitol Hill amid a high number of cases of omicron.

The heated argument that pitted them against Democrats was over House Resolution 22-1003 authorizing Speaker Alec Garnett, a Denver Democrat, to create safety rules during a public health emergency, which ultimately passed a party vote. While staff and the public will be required to don the masks in committee rooms, galleries and the chamber after the rules are established, lawmakers would only be “encouraged” to wear them.

GOP Minority Leader Hugh McKean said the mask mandate cannot be extended to lawmakers because the state constitution contains a provision that prohibits lawmakers from being prevented from doing their jobs. This means that a lawmaker cannot be kicked out of the building for not wearing a mask, for example. Garnett assured Republican members that he would consult with McKean when deciding on regulations and possible changes.

Republican Rep. Stephanie Luck of Penrose started the discussion by telling House members that those like her who don’t wear masks don’t do so to endanger others, and that many of her constituents would not be at risk. comfortable walking into the Capitol wearing a mask. While they have the ability to testify remotely, it has its challenges, she added.

“People who choose not to wear a mask are not choosing to put other people at risk,” Luck said. “They are looking at a different set of facts. They look at a different set of arguments and they make the best decisions for themselves and their families based on those sets of facts.

For Luck, that included an argument that wearing a mask lowers oxygen levels, which turned out to be false — multiple studies, including one by UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital published in February, showed that the wearing a cloth or a surgical mask did not alter the oxygen supply. Public health experts and scientists have repeatedly highlighted the effectiveness of mask-wearing in curbing the spread of the virus.

Luck also introduced Bill HB21-1202 this year to authorize the use of off-label drugs to treat COVID-19 such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, which the Food and Drug Administration has warned against.

Other Republicans also opposed the measures, saying their rights should not be trampled on.

Colorado House Republicans protest mask requirements in Capitol courtrooms

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