Assembly votes to censor member Annie Black for not following COVID rules
May 20, 2021
Assembly members took a rare step by voting on party lines Thursday to censure Congresswoman Annie Black (R-Mesquite) for violating a requirement that members of the Legislature wear masks unless ‘they are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
The House voted 26-16 to say Black was in violation of a new policy announced the day before that generally allowed vaccinated people to be in the building without a mask if vaccinated. Black spoke out against the mask rule in place for most of the session and won an email newsletter for catalyzing policy change.
“No one knows if I received the vaccine,” Black said in a recent newsletter. “And frankly, it’s nobody’s business other than mine. It’s my body, my choice.”
Under standing rules passed by the Assembly, lawmakers are required to cover their face and nose with a mask at almost all times in the legislative building and to follow all CDC guidelines on social distancing. Any member who has violated the rules “shall not vote or speak in the House or in committee, except to explain and apologize for the violation, until the Member has satisfied the House for the offense”.
Black remained in the assembly without a mask after the vote.
Assembly Majority Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D-Reno) said the Legislative Counsel’s Office had asked members to confirm their vaccination status. The LCB informed legislative leaders that three members did not turn around on the request.
“It’s not whether we know or not [whether the three members are vaccinated]. They haven’t confirmed, ”she said.
MP Jill Dickman (R-Sparks) said in a brief interview Thursday that a Sergeant-at-Arms asked her to leave the assembly on Thursday if she was not wearing a mask. Dickman participated remotely in the meeting.
“I don’t share my personal health information with anyone,” she said. “Apparently we have de facto vaccine passports in the Legislative Building.”
Journalists Riley Snyder and Tabitha Mueller contributed to this report.
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