Thanks to Rep. Jedediah Hinkle (R-Belgrade) who sponsored HB257 and Governor Gianforte who signed it, county and local health boards cannot force masking that reaches further than the statewide policies approved by the governor’s office. Although most of Montana has been mask-free since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and largely ignored the demands of former Governor Steve Bullock, some of Montana’s ‘blue-dot cities’ have repeatedly enforced draconian virus mitigation demands that extend well beyond both reason and Montana’s statewide policies.
For example, in complaining about HB257, Gallatin Health Nazi, Matt Kelley (who announced his resignation this coming June to work for a ‘non-profit’ funded by Johnson & Johnson to promote forced vaccinations) likened non-maskers to drunk drivers.
Kelley said, “It’s a little bit like having legislation and shaking your finger at people for driving while under the influence, and then telling local law enforcement that they’re not allowed to do anything about it.”
Such wild comparisons, gross exaggerations, and broad generalization of pro-face Montanans as drunken criminals does not help their case among the public, who has grown tired of the unscientific rule.
Despite the catastrophization efforts of liberal counties like Missoula County, Gallatin County, and Lewis & Clark County, those counties enforcing masking guidelines have shown no discernible difference in COVID-19 cases than counties that have never enforced such a mandate. Meanwhile, Republicans seem fixated on science, pointing out that masking does not prevent COVID-19 in any empical data study to date.
Missoula County, home of arguably Montana’s most liberal city, has shown particular grit and resolve in thwarting the new state law as much as possible. Consider the sign, funded by public tax dollars, posted around the city (below).
Montana’s new law, reigning in the power of unelected health boards and local or county governments when in conflict with statewide law, does not affect property owned by the public if it own by the American people and managed by the federal government (except for post offices, military bases, and embassies, the federal government does not technically “own” property according to the U.S Constitution; it belongs to the public). The law also gives schools and hospitals more flexibility in setting masking guidelines, mostly because they are endlessly entangled with federal tax support.
In such buildings commonly called “federal property,” the policies are set by the executive branch, currently led by Joseph Biden. Biden still requires masking on public property managed by the federal government and in mass transit facilities, like airports.
Ergo, the Missoula County sign is partially correct. Masks may very well be required in hospitals, schools, the University of Montana, federal buildings, and private property (based upon the wishes of the property owner).
However, the line in the sign that states, “Some local government offices, particularly those with high public use” is incorrect. With the exception of prisons or jails, local government offices must not require masks.
Breathe freely, Montana. Not only is the COVID-19 threat over, it never existed to begin with, except for a tiny segment of Montana’s elderly and terminally-ill population that – by and large – is already self-isolated. The chance of dying from COVID-19, if you are under 70 and good health, is about the same as winning the lottery. You’re going to be okay.