State Rep. Brock Colvin (R-Albertville) has pre-filed a bill in the Alabama House of Representatives that would prohibit any governmental entities and the State Health Officer from imposing mask mandates.
Mask mandates were hotly debated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Kay Ivey had initially signed a mask mandate in July 2020 requiring Alabamians when in the company of anyone not in their immediate household. She let that mandate expire in April 2021.
In recent months, reported rises in COVID nationwide have caused many to worry about whether or not the government might try to reinstitute strict protocols.
Colvin is currently campaigning for Alabama Senate District 9 after former Senate Majority Leader Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville), who held the seat for 13 years, resigned to join the Business Council of Alabama.
Colvin told 1819 News he filed the bill before deciding to run for the vacant Senate seat but intends to pursue the bill on the Senate floor should he win the January special election.
"When I filed it, I had no idea this Senate campaign was coming," Colvin said. "That was certainly not my intention. My intention was, I just believe in limited government. That's why I ran. I believe part of my responsibility in Montgomery is to keep our government limited and to protect our freedoms as a conservative Republican. Just through the pandemic on the federal and state level, I saw areas of overreach that I thought needed to be addressed."
House Bill 9 (HB9) would prohibit government entities and the State Health Officer from requiring face mask mandates to prevent spreading diseases like COVID-19. The bill excludes licensed medical facilities and state and local detention facilities.
Colvin said he drafted the bill in such a way as to avoid any major pushback from those skeptical of the legislation by exempting specific areas at higher risk.
"We excluded medical facilities and law enforcement facilities," he continued. "We tried to prevent any major pushback. We're not restricting businesses. I believe in free enterprise. So, I believe the way it's drafted right now should make everybody comfortable. I'm not going to speak for anyone else, but I think it's a home run.
"I guess there's some people out there in the world who think that government needs to be bigger and have more authority, and I just disagree. So I guess people who have that philosophical difference from me will give pushback. I think people are smart enough to make decisions for themselves when it comes to wearing a piece of cloth over their face or not."
The 2024 legislative session is slated to begin in February 2024, and January's special election will determine if Colvin's bill will come through the House or the Senate.
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