State lawmakers in Pennsylvania are considering a bill that would make it a crime not to wear a mask in public.
Senate Bill 1287 says Pennsylvanians who don’t wear masks are recklessly endangering other people. The bill would amend Title 18 “(Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in assault, further providing for the offense of recklessly endangering another person.”
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“A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if the person willfully fails to wear a mask or other face covering that is necessary to protect public health as a result of a declaration by the Governor,” the proposed bill states.
“My legislation will add failing to adhere to the face covering requirements of a declaration of disaster emergency to the crime of ‘recklessly endangering another person,’ punishable as a misdemeanor of the second degree,” said bill sponsor Sen. Art Haywood (D). “Willfully exposing someone to another deadly disease already is a violation of our Crimes Code. Now is the time to act to protect those we love and those at risk from a senseless death.
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Violating the edict is punishable by up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
After the bill was introduced, state Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R) posted on Facebook that it couldn’t “get anymore crazy.”
“Just when I thought it couldn’t get anymore crazy… a bill has been introduced in the PA State Senate that makes it a 2nd Degree Misdemeanor to not wear a mask, regardless of age or medical condition. This punishable by up to 2 years in prison,” Bernstine wrote.
State Rep, Tim O’Neal (R) also said he doesn’t support the bill.
“While we should all wear masks, keep our social distance and wash our hands in order to protect our community, no fines or criminal charges should be filed against those who do not follow the governor’s mask mandate,” O’Neal said. “Our law enforcement officers have enough on their plates. They should not be turned into the mask police.”