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Republicans Reject Indiana House Mask Mandate

Rep. Curt Nisly (R-Milford), top row, was one of only two House lawmakers who refused to wear a mask during the floor session Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.

Rep. Curt Nisly (R-Milford), top row, was one of only two House lawmakers who refused to wear a mask during the floor session Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. (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.

TUESDAY CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS: Indiana Records Another Record-High Number of COVID-19 Deaths

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.

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