State Rep. Brock Colvin, R-Albertville has filed a bill that would prevent state and local governments from implementing mask mandates outside of a few exceptions.
Colvin, who is now running for State Senate in a special election to be held next month, actually filed the bill back in September.
“During the pandemic, on a federal and state level we saw government overreach and I was concerned with that,” Colvin said. “This year I got to the Legislature and began researching what other states had done and what has Alabama done. Through LSA, I learned we haven’t really done anything. As a conservative Republican, I think something as simple as putting a cloth over your mouth is not the government’s place.”
There are some exemptions in the bill for certain high-risk areas including some medical facilities and prisons, which Colvin said are reasonable exemptions that he hopes ward off pushback.
The bill does not exclude schools, and Colvin said students in his district are actually the ones who sparked the bill.
“I had some students come up to me in my district that told me they were tired of being told to wear a mask at school, they just wanted to go and learn,” Colvin said. “That sparked a nerve in me.”
Of course, mask mandates aren’t the only requirements at schools meant to keep the student body healthy, as numerous vaccines are also required.
When APR asked about this, and whether masks are intended to protect the user or to protect others from the user, Colvin said he wasn’t going to “debate the science of masks.”
“People own the government; schools belong to the taxpayers and students, not the government. They have no right to impose mask mandates on citizens.”
A variety of medical experts including in Alabama have published statistics that show masks were an effective way to prevent the transmission of Covid-19. A UAB study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in September 2020 found that universal masking of health care workers led to a 68 percent drop in the risk of exposure.
Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris withstood months of criticism for continuing the state’s mask mandates but stood firm behind the importance of masking while hospitals struggled to treat record numbers of patients
Colvin said the bill will be a priority of his regardless of which chamber he ultimately finds himself in.
The 2024 legislative session begins in February.