CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – While attempting to conduct a regular session of the state legislature during a pandemic, nerves may be on edge. Controversy can arise from any corner, it seems.
Today, a Democrat state senator was accused of being “the most partisan member of that caucus.” The Republican target of his attack said “it’s not the first time Senator Beach has gone on social media to attack me. It’s all because he’s the most partisan Democrat here.”
Bob Beach, who represents Monongalia County and District 13, took to social media with a photograph of Republican Senator Robert Karnes of Randolph County and District 11.
In the photo on Beach’s Facebook page, Karnes is shown wearing an apparatus on his face.
Though the picture is not clear, it is obvious Karnes is not wearing the typical face mask worn by most during the Covid epidemic. Comments added by Beach and his followers indicate the face covering is “mesh.” One said it was designed to “catch mosquitoes not Covid.”
Some appeared to believe Karnes was “breaking the law” by not wearing the typical mask.
Not so, says the Republican from Helvetia.
“I have as much faith in my mask as i would in one of theirs,” Karnes said this afternoon. “Nobody, including the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) have defined for us which masks are effective with the virus. I feel.safe with the one I’m wearing.”
Karnes was quick to point out that Senate guidelines adopted for this regular session do not define the type of face coverings to be worn.
Specifically, the guidelines say, “Face coverings should be worn in all public areas of the Capitol.”
In a later section, the guidelines declare, “Floor Sessions
While the Senate is in session, all persons in the Chamber are required to wear a face covering. Members who wish to speak with no face covering may do so at the designated
microphone in the rear of the Chamber. For members who choose not to wear a face covering, you will be required to sit at the press tables at the back of the chamber.”
While some Democrats maintain that Karnes and at least two other GOP Senators are “mocking the virus and the rules” by wearing their non-traditional masks, Karnes says that isn’t true. The other two are Michael Azinger of Wood and Patrick Martin of Lewis County.
Reminded by a reporter that there are perhaps more pressing matters facing legislators this session than debating masks, Karnes replied, “then Senator Beach should stop trying to orchestra a circus.”
Once before, Karnes said, Beach posted a picture of Karnes’ chamber computer on the Internet. “He violated the rules when he did that but mostly he proved what a partisan Democrat he is.”
A call to Beach for comment was not.immediately returned.