ST. GEORGE — The Utah Legislature passed a measure Wednesday that would permanently ban a mask mandate in K-12 and higher education schools in the state unless agreed to jointly by the governor and state Legislature.
The Face Covering Requirements measure, designated HB 1007 in the 2021 Utah Legislature, would also disallow schools to require the COVID-19 vaccine without allowing for medical exemptions.
Proponents said the bill would still allow people to wear face coverings to school if they wished, while opponents say it curtails efforts to stem any future pandemic or a resurgence of COVID-19. The state’s school mask mandate ended last Friday for the last week of the school year, though Washington County schools proactively ended their enforcement of the mandate on their own May 7.
After passing through the House of Representatives, 50-24 with one absent, in the morning, the measure passed 23-5 with one absent in the Senate, where Cedar City-based Sen. Evan Vickers, R, was the floor sponsor.
All of Southern Utah’s legislators in both houses of the state Legislature voted for the measure.
The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Spencer Cox, who has not said whether he will sign the bill.
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Check out all of St. George News’ coverage of the 2021 Utah Legislature here.
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