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Health rule enforcement in limbo

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Town Crier “Briefs from the Region” (2) – 1/14/21

In July, at a Gallatin County health board meeting intended to enact a countywide mask mandate to curb the spread of COVID-19, protesters squared off with county sheriff, Brian Gootkin, who communicated to them that at the time, he would not be issuing criminal citations to those incompliant. This week, Montana lawmakers introduced a bill that would remove penalties from local law enforcement who choose not to, or are unable to, enforce local health rules. Senate Bill 67 was presented by Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick of Great Falls, who says that there may be occasions in which officers are responding to a crime and are unable to enforce a health rule, and therefore should not be penalized for not doing so. Law enforcement officials are in support of the bill.

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