Spokane city councilman censured for not wearing mask

Spokane City Councilman Jonathan Bingle has been censured for his refusal to wear a mask.

The Spokane City Council passed two resolutions on Monday night — one formally condemning Bingle, who is openly violating the state’s mask order while at work in City Hall, and the other urging Mayor Nadine Woodward to enforce the mask mandate. Some members want Woodward to lock Bingle out of City Hall.

The Spokesman-Review reported that Councilman Zack Zappone, who co-sponsored the censure resolution, argued Bingle is within his rights to advocate against Gov. Jay Inslee’s mask mandate – but should do it while masked or working from home.

"Council Member Bingle is intentionally breaking the law, and even worse, he is using his office to intentionally break the law," Zappone said.

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Bingle countered he was one of many "frustrated with the inconsistencies" of the mask mandate.

The current statewide mask mandate has been in place since last summer and generally requires people age 5 and older to wear masks inside indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status. The rules returned as COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations increased with the delta variant of the coronavirus.

The National Guard has been mobilized in recent weeks in Washington and Idaho because of another COVID-19 wave fueled by the omicron variant.

"This has never been about the mask. This is about me standing up for those who feel like they don’t have a voice," Bingle said.

Bingle said he had no problem attending meetings virtually, but reaffirmed that he would not wear a mask in City Hall.

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