Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Metro Council member joy Styles files a bill to institute a mask mandate in Davidson County.

Joy Styles
by Rod Williams- Metro Council member Joy Styles has filed a bill to institute a mask mandate in Davidson County. This is a late-filed bill so it will have to go before the rules committee and be passed by that committee before it can be considered by the full Council.  

Note that this is a bill, not a resolution.  A resolution expresses the will of the Council.  When a resolution is directed toward the state or the federal government they are pretty much worthless and meaningless.  When a resolution is directed toward an agency of Metro government, however, it carries weight, since the Council funds that agency and must vote on any legislation that agency may want enacted.  If the Council passed a resolution asking for a mask mandate, however, and in the wisdom of the health department and the mayor, a mask mandate is not warranted, the city would not have to have a mask mandate. 

A bill is different than a resolution.  A bill is a law.  So a bill of this nature says there will be a mask mandate.  It does not request a mask mandate or recommend a mask mandate; it mandates a mandate.

Our economy is just now picking back up.  We do not need another blow to the economy.  Also, there is little evidence that vaccinated people need to wear masks and most adults are now vaccinated.  Not that I would be opposed to a mask mandate if the situation deteriorates and city officials reach a decision that a mask mandate is essential for public health.  That would not require Council action.  We had a mask mandate before and a lockdown and that did not require Council action.  

I hope we do not need another mask mandate but if we do, it should be at the recommendation of health officials.  It should be a public health decision; not a political decision. It should not originate in the Council.  Since this is a late-filed bill we don't know what is in it.  News reports say it would apply only to indoor public spaces. We don't know how long a mask mandate would last, the process for lifting the mandate, if babies and toddlers would have to be masked, or anything else.   The rules committee should not permit this bill to be considered.  The sponsor should have to file the bill in a timely manner so it can be adequately evaluated.  

If the rules committee does allow it to be considered, the Council should vote it down. 

For more on this follow this link from News Channel 5.  Note that the reporters call the bill a "resolution."  In the body of the news report, however, they call it a bill and they also say it must pass three readings.  A resolution passes by just one single vote of the Council while a bill requires three "reading,"  so I am assuming this is a bill, not a resolution.  At one time we had reporters who knew the difference. This illustrates the poor quality of local news reporting today. 

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