Park County Republicans: Mask Mandate “Unconstitutional”
Written by Andrew-Rossi on November 23, 2020
The Park County Republican Party wants the county’s mask mandate gone – and have brought their disapproval to the Park County Commissioners.
The “Resolution to Rescind the Park County Health Order Requiring Face Coverings” was submitted to the Commissioners and the Public Health Office Monday afternoon, signed by the entire executive committee of the Park County Republican Party.
In the resolution, the party challenges the mask mandate and the authority of Public Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin to enact it. The authors of the resolution denounce his status as an “unelected official” several times.
They accuse Billin specifically of plagiarizing the order from another Wyoming county, and using public media to “(threaten) business owners with closure should they not comply with the health officer’s orders.”
Other targets of the party’s outrage are Park County Public Health Nurse Bill Crampton, State Health Officer Alexia Harrist, and Bridget Hill – Wyoming’s current Attorney General. All are demeaned as unelected officials acting without the input of “the free people of Park County “and forcing it on them against their will.
The entire effort is, in their words, “an end-run around our elected officials at the state level, our county commissioners, our mayors and city/town councils.”
Dr. Billin – a board-certified physician – justified Park County’s mask mandate by citing the latest research and statistics from multiple peer-reviewed medical journals showing the effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Traditionally, county health officials are appointed to their positions by elected officials, usually the county commissioners.
State positions — like Health Officer and Attorney General — are appointed by the governor.
Mask mandates are submitted to the Wyoming Department of Health by the county health officer, which is under the jurisdiction of their position and usually done in conjunction with the elected officials of the county.
Amidst the Park County Republican Party’s frustration, the resolution is noticeably silent on one prominent issue: there isn’t a single mention of COVID-19 or the pandemic in the entire document.
This is part of a state-wide effort coordinated by the Wyoming Republican Party seeking to abolish mask mandates, Governor Gordon’s public health orders, and the state’s Public Health Emergency. Resolutions like this have been submitted by several county parties after a Nov. 14 meeting of the party in Newcastle.
The Park County Republican Party is following suit, asking for either Billin to rescind the order or the Park County Commissioners to nullify it as soon as possible.
Park County’s mask mandate was enacted on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and will remain in effect until Dec. 4, when it will either be extended or abolished based on COVID-19 case numbers at that time.