MN City Passes Vote to Stop Enforcing Gov. Walz’s Mask Mandate
Folks in Ramsey, MN may no longer be required to wear face masks in the community.
On Tuesday, the City Council of Ramsey -- a suburb of 26,000 people in Anoka County -- voted 4-3 in favor of ending Governor Walz's Executive Order 20-81 which enforces the wearing of face masks in certain settings. The resolution was proposed by City Council members Ryan Heineman and Chelsee Howell, citing that the orders "have broadly undermined the basic human rights of our neighbors, our families, and ourselves."
While the vote passed, it was met by disapproval from the city attorney, city mayor and Ramsey Police Chief. "You can't ignore [the executive order] because you disagree with it," City Attorney Joe Langel said before the vote. "It still has the full force of the law."
Ramsey Mayor Mark Kuzma voted against the resolution, having recently returned to work after having COVID himself. "COVID is real," the Star Tribune quotes him as saying. "Wearing a mask is not a big deal to me. I'm disappointed in the council bringing this resolution."
"The Ramsey Police Department will continue to enforce state laws and city ordinances," Ramsey Police Chief Jeff Katers said. Over the past year, 43 Ramsey Police responded to 43 cases of failure to comply from local businesses; most of those were within the first few months of the pandemic.
It remains to be seen what the resolution actually means for Ramsey as -- according to state statue -- executive orders trump local ordinances. The Star Tribune also notes that in cases where other cities have voted to overturn executive orders, the Attorney General's Office has always successfully turned them back.
North Dakota, Iowa, Montana, Texas and Mississippi have all ended or will soon end state-wide mask mandates.