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    Assembly looks to enshrine mandatory masks in Anchorage code

    By AlaskaWatchman.com

    Several Anchorage Assembly members want to permanently enshrine the mandatory wearing of facemasks in city code. Assembly members Meg Zaletel, Suzanne LaFrance and John Weddleton plan to bring forward the proposal at the Jan. 26 Assembly meeting.

    Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel

    The ordinance would replace the current emergency order on facemasks with a new city law with no sunset date. Unlike an emergency order, which can be immediately rescinded by a mayor, the proposed law could only be overturned by a majority vote of the Assembly after a public hearing. This would effectively restrict any new mayor from being able to lift the mask mandate without Assembly approval.

    The ordinance suggests that mandatory facemasks “may extend beyond the need for a declared emergency.” It adds that the city will “exercise the municipality’s police power” and “reserves the right to use all available enforcement options to assure compliance.”

    Assemblyman Weddleton first hinted at the notion of codifying masks in city law during the Jan. 12 Assembly meeting. He claimed that residents were primarily upset by the nearly year-long declaration of emergency, rather than with specific emergency orders such as mask mandates. By codifying mask mandates, and perhaps other provisions currently in the emergency orders, the Assembly could essentially do away with the declaration of emergency without losing certain mandates.

    Assemblyman John Weddleton

    When the Assembly votes to declare or extend a declaration of emergency (as it has done seven times in a row), this automatically grants or extends the mayor’s extraordinary powers to impose mandates across the city. However, the Assembly can terminate any one of the mayor’s emergency orders by a simple majority vote. The most controversial emergency orders have been mask mandates and restrictions on local businesses.

    Since the Assembly can immediately abolish any one of the controversial emergency orders, it is unclear why Assembly members Zaletel, LaFrance and Weddleton want to enshrine mask mandates in city code rather than merely voting to terminate certain aspects of the most unpopular emergency orders.

    As written, the proposed ordinance would require mandatory face coverings in all public indoor or communal places outside of one’s private home, and in outdoor settings whenever social distancing was not possible. Some exceptions are permitted for those with physical or mental disabilities, as well as small children and people who cannot mask up while performing certain duties or working out.

    Assemblywoman Suzanne LaFrance

    There are no religious exemptions, although musicians, presenters and ministers could remove their masks so long as they were 25 feet from their audience, and everyone else was masked.

    Local businesses would be forced to deny admittance or remove anyone who is legally required to wear a mask but does not. Employers would not be subject to fines, however, so long as they clearly post signs informing customers of the law.

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    Joel Davidson
    Joel Davidson
    Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.

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    18 Comments

    1. The communist commissars of Anchorage want to ensure that they break every local business there or that they run them out of the municipality. This is what you get with mail-in balloting folks. You better do something to save your city because these lunatics want to turn it into the Alaskan Venezuela.

    2. These nut cases wont have a city left to run after everybody leaves. These unelected idiots are mentally retarded. Nobody is ever going to go along with permanent unconstitutional orders. Of course who knows. The residents of anchorage love their masters and want to be ruled over so maybe it will stick there.

    3. I have a feeling they know they’re about to loose the mayorship come spring. So in order to maintain power on their subjects they have to find ways around their coming dilemma. These tyrants are so brazen! I feel they could simply do away with the election and keep themselves as permanent rulers and anchorage residents won’t even bat an eye.

    4. These people are evil, if you bow to their tyranny you deserve what is coming.
      The longer you wait to fight back, the more it will cost us all.

    5. Alaska Watchman, do you have anyone at APD you can get a hold of to find out how much they can’t handle or want to handle the enforcement of this if it became law?

      I have a feeling only their inability to enforce this law will sway Assembly members.

    6. How can Anchorage residents remove the Assembly members that are not doing the Will of the People? Besides recalls can they be sued? If there is not a declared emergency how can they legally do this?

      • If you take them to state federal court as I have stated on may occasions they all can be held accountable even the pervert Berkowitz can still be held accountable for civil rights violations but it will take a dedicated group of citizens.

    7. In Oregon the cops said there Not enforcing theses stupid laws on are citizens
      So the crazy Leb governor hired state workers to scare or shut down business
      Anchorage is blue it’s about to be like Portland dark blue
      Get Rid of that Fake mayor Your not Elected

    8. Emergencies have a beginning and an end. Emergency orders are intended to be specific and temporary for the “duration of the emergency”. At least this is what is say’s in the Muni’s Comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan. Subverting the authority of the emergency order by codifying the mask requirement in an ordinance is unnecessary very poor public policy. It also speaks loudly of where the ordinance sponsors heads are at this time. Instead of focusing on recovery they seek to normalize masks and penalize by ordinance anyone who does not comply. This is wrong headed thinking. I hope the sponsors of this ordinance and the assembly reconsider their support for this ordinance. This is simply unnecessary and not needed. Believe it or not this crisis will end.

    9. All one has to say is “I have a medical condition that precludes me from wearing a mask”. No one is allowed to question this. The problem is that private businesses such as stores and other business can require masks for any reason, just as many require such things as shoes or shirts be worn while on premise. It is private property. So, unless enough of us refuse to wear these masks that actually causes these businesses to loose money, they will continue to make us wear them…but it would be interesting to go onto a federal property and see what happens if you declare you cannot wear one… see if they uphold HIPA laws, or not.

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