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New bill could change who controls when children wear masks

House Bill 51, was proposed by Rep. Lynn Bechler (R-District 4/Marion), makes face coverings optional in schools.
Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 1:24 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Who should decide when children do or do not wear masks? Some in state government fought to bring that control to local schools. Now a Kentucky Republican representative wants a new bill to circle back and change that.

Tuesday morning, a bill on the Kentucky House floor would change who controls whether your children have to wear a mask at school. House Bill 51, was proposed by Rep. Lynn Bechler (R-District 4/Marion), makes face coverings optional in schools. Bechler claims masks have impacted speech, hearing and communication and that it causes asthma. Although he didn’t present a source or specific research.

“Children suicide rates are up,” Bechler said. “The CDC in a study has shown its up over 50 percent for girls and just under 4 percent for women.”

WAVE News found no research from the CDC correlating a rise in suicide rates to wearing a cloth mask.

“The bill itself is acknowledging there are mutated and multiple strands of COVID-19,” Rep. Attica Scott (D-District 41/Louisville) said. “Why would we not want to protect our children and our most vulnerable from these multiple strands of the virus?”

“Because masks don’t work,” Bechler said.

“That’s not true,” Scott countered.

The hearing closed out with an Oldham County mother named Kristen showing a picture of her four-year-old son, Theo.

“He’s too young to be vaccinated,” Kristen said of Theo, who was born with malformed, misplaced and missing internal organs.

“By advocating for this bill you are actively advocating against medical fragile kids and their families,” Kristen said.

The bill will move on to the debate phase. Multiple representatives brought up the point that they were just pushing for local control of mandates and now this bill aims to do the opposite and take that control away. They said they’re concerned about the mixed signals that could send about local control.

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WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)