The constitutional limitations to Governor Edwards’ authority during a declared health emergency has not hindered his directives and orders towards the general public. Continuing with that pattern, apparently statutory laws are not a hinderance or concern to him either.
“Wearing cloth masks or protective face coverings is part of the new normal,” Gov. Edwards said. “Wearing a mask is being a good neighbor and in Louisiana, we pride ourselves on being good neighbors. Your mask protects me and other people and my mask protects you.”
But it’s against the law
According to Louisiana Revised Statute 14:313 wearing masks in public is prohibited and carries penalties for violators, with a few exceptions. One exception to which the law does not apply is found in subsection C (5): “To persons wearing a helmet or mask for medical purposes or reasons.”
Would it be incorrect to suppose that the converse applies? Does this mean an individual without a medical purpose is prohibited from wearing a mask? What’s the definition of “medical purpose?”
Not making assumptions here, but it’s highly unlikely the whole of the population has medical conditions necessitating masks. So, how is Governor Edwards’ recommendation and encouragement that ALL individuals wear facial coverings not against the law?
This dilemma has become increasingly difficult recently and right here in Lafayette. Just last week, an aggravated burglary occurred in which the perpetrator got clean away thanks to his wearing a mask.
To mask or not to mask?
The governor’s edicts present an interesting quandary. Are you more likely to be arrested for wearing a mask in public, in violation of RS 14:313, or for not wearing a mask, in violation of the governor’s phase one guidelines?
Michael Lunsford contributed to this article
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