Thursday, September 24, 2020

Mask Ordinance Referendum Questions

A referendum has been filed seeking to have Ordinance 2020-36V, regarding civil infractions and requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic, referred to voters for their approval or disapproval. The proposition information pamphlet is available online.

Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions:

  • How do I learn more about the referendum?
    • The Proposition Information Pamphlet can be found here:
      • The referendum application (shows who filed) can be found on pages 2-3.
      • The sponsors' argument against the ordinance is found on page 8.
      • Provo City's argument for the ordinance is found on page 9.
  • Is the mask requirement unconstitutional?
    • All constitutional rights are subject to the government's authority to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the community. This authority is called the "police power." 
    • The case of Jacobson v Massachusetts established where legislative "police powers" are derived from. In that case, the Supreme Court upheld a smallpox vaccination requirement in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The court wrote, "There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis, organized society could not exist without safety to its members." 
  • Do masks count as a medical device or medical treatment?
    • According to BMJ (aka British Medical Journal), "We use the term 'medical mask' to refer to a device that meets particular standards and is intended primarily for healthcare workers (but may also be recommended for the public). The term 'face covering' refers to anything that covers the face, including homemade or commercially sold coverings (typically made of cloth, but sometimes from paper or other materials) intended primarily for the public."
    • "Framed medically, a face covering is either personal protective equipment (to protect the wearer) or a means of source control (to prevent the spread of illness)."
  • What are the requirements for the referendum to be successful?
    • The group will need to collect 3,200 certified signatures (Utah County certifies whether or not the signatures are valid), with a certain percentage of those signatures from four of the five Council districts. Signature packets must be turned in to Utah County before 5:00 pm on Monday, November 9
    • If successful, the item would appear on the ballot in November 2021.

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Comment below (requires Google account), on our Facebook page, through our online comment form, or by contacting Council Members directly. Comments/input on items appearing on an upcoming meeting agenda will be compiled and provided to Council Members the day before the meeting. **Note - your comments will be part of the public record.

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