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Republican governors have been successfully panicked into letting the same local thugs, who reveled in the powers granted to them during the Great Lockdown, now order American citizens to cover their faces, some with as much legal force as the Saudi religious police. Governor Abbott of Texas at least had the wisdom to forbid any criminal penalties under this exercise in bodily control over every free person. Governor Doug Ducey has not been so bright, and so will rightly accrue state-wide blame against the Republican Party. He must immediately amend his latest executive order, number 2020-40, to prohibit anything more than a parking ticket sort of civil penalty for mask non-compliance.
Mesa, Arizona, is muddling through a middle route, requiring masks in most public indoor settings but not while eating or drinking. They will levy civil fines for persistent non-compliance, limited to $50, following Maricopa County.
Mesa issued its mask order Monday, June 22. It was published as a non-text enabled PDF image file. The city council notably exempted schools, a sane decision. Their order really amounts to requiring mask use in interacting with people indoors. Exceptions include working out in a gym or swimming, as well as sitting at a bar or a restaurant table when served food or drink. There are medical and religious exemptions that may be invoked without challenge.
Maricopa County, which contains the largest Arizona cities, has set a maximum fine of $50 for the second and subsequent violations. Queen Creek had intended to treat its citizens as its masters and as fully enfranchised adults but noted Maricopa County’s order. And then there is Scottsdale.
Scottsdale’s government let their fascist flag fly free, including patronizing language about this all being what is best for you subjects:
Continued failure to comply with an emergency proclamation is a misdemeanor.
Think about that. They had a choice of civil penalties, but they want to put their shiny leather boot firmly on your neck. In the intervening days, they have dug in on their un-Arizona tyranny, reflecting California Democrat ideological contamination.
Governor Ducey has had days to survey local government responses. He should now modify his order, limiting from local government and setting the statewide maximum penalty to mirror the Maricopa County order.
Ducey could use verbiage about the uncertainty of the science, changing official opinions, and the enormous burden placed on Arizona families by government responses to the pandemic. He should rehearse the public policy movement against criminalizing behavior, noting this falls unevenly on those with fewer resources to contest police and prosecutors’ actions.
Each local order cites to and relies upon the governor’s executive order to get at emergency powers. It appears that state law likely limits local orders to the bounds of the governor’s order. Indeed, Governor Ducey gave local governments the green light expressly in his order, while covering with weak verbiage about the focus on educating people into compliance. The relevant statutory language is:
26-307. Power of counties, cities, towns and state agencies designated by the governor to make orders, rules and regulations; procedure
A. State agencies when designated by the governor, and counties, cities and towns may make, amend and rescind orders, rules and regulations necessary for emergency functions but such shall not be inconsistent with orders, rules and regulations promulgated by the governor.
It is an outrage that any government would dare to impose criminal penalties for such an invasive imposition on individual bodily liberty. I had thought we were in a moment of criminal law reform. Since when should any local government be allowed to threaten criminal records for dissent from edicts so poorly supported by “science” or “public health,” with flip-flops at every level of supposed expertise and medical authority?
Ducey, do right! The eyes of Arizona are upon you.Published in