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Republicans Reject Indiana House Mask Mandate

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Darron Cummings
/
Associated Press

Republicans rejected an effort Tuesday to require House lawmakers to wear masks during the upcoming legislative session.

Democrats proposed a House rule to require members to wear a mask while on the floor, in the hall or in committee and conducting official House business or potentially face a fine, censure or other penalty.

Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne) called the proposal a “slippery slope.”

“And I don’t want to go down the path where your individual actions, I can bring you on this House floor and censure you," Lehman said. "Right now, that’s reserved for the most heinous things, which are you don’t do your duty.”

Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) was furious.

“Well, if we shut down because we play this game and become a hotspot, will we have done our job to the public?” DeLaney said.

Only two of the more than 90 House lawmakers in attendance Tuesday refused to wear a mask – Rep. Curt Nisly (R-Milford) and Rep. John Jacob (R-Indianapolis).

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.