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Modifications expected for proposed mask legislation

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(The Center Square) – Proposed legislation targeting protestors is expected to get tweaks from the North Carolina House of Representatives, possibly before the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

People wearing masks in public, and those blocking roads or emergency vehicles, are singled out in the bill passed by the Senate 30-15 this week. Critics have roared because the part about masks includes everyone, even those with health concerns.

Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, presented the proposal. Protests in the state about fossil fuels have led to road blockages, and university campuses – notably the Polk Place quad at Carolina – have been contentious areas linked to the war between Hamas and Israel.

State law involving masks dates back 71 years to activity by the Ku Klux Klan. When the COVID-19 era came, the lawmakers agreed to a change that corresponded to federal and state health officials’ recommendations.

Newton pushed back on those who said people with health concerns would be prosecuted, saying he believed discretion by lawmen and district attorneys would prevail.

Rep. Destin Hall, R-Caldwell, is chairman of the House’s rules committee. His comments indicated changes were possible and might happen in the coming couple of weeks.

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