Republican alaska state senator lora reinbold violating mask policies Airlines

Without the ability to fly, an Alaska senator who opposes'mask tyranny' requests to be excused from the State Senate.

An Alaska senator has requested an exemption from legislative sessions until next year, claiming she is unable to travel to the state capital due to her suspension from Alaska Airlines for breaching the airline's mask policy.

Lora Reinbold, a Republican state senator, was seen on tape in April disputing with airport employees about mask laws.

Following the confrontation, Alaska Airlines stated that it had informed Ms. Reinbold that she was no longer permitted to fly with the airline due to her continuous reluctance to follow employee instructions about the current mask policy.

Ms. Reinbold earlier expressed her dissatisfaction with Alaska Airlines on Facebook, claiming it was a "part of mask tyranny."

She had also been reprimanded by Alaska's Republican governor, Mike Dunleavy, for distributing false information regarding the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic and for "abandoning the fundamentals of your oath as a public servant."

Lora Reinbold
Lora Reinbold, Alaska State Senator, on the floor of the Alaska Senate in April.

Ms. Reinbold requested on Thursday's floor of the Alaska State Senate that she be excused from Senate business from September 11 to January 15 "since there is no aircraft other than Alaska Airlines that flies into Juneau during that time frame that I am aware of."

“The political prohibition will remain in effect as long as Biden's unconstitutional mask mandate remains in effect on private and public transportation,” she informed her colleagues.

The Republican-led Senate granted her request without opposition, stating that she will be shown as "excused on those dates."

Ms. Reinbold is the Eagle River, Alaska, representative. If she is unable to fly, a trip from her district to Juneau, the state capital, may take her nearly 19 hours by car and boat, including a crossing of the Canadian border.

Alaska Airlines said on Saturday that Ms. Reinbold was denied boarding on the airline on April 24.

“Since then, a review has taken place and the suspension has been maintained,” the airline stated in a statement. The suspension would stay in effect "so long as the federal mask policy is in operation."

Alaska Airlines stated in an April statement: "Federal law requires all visitors to wear a mask over their nose and mouth at all times during travel, including during the flight, when boarding and deplaning, and while navigating through an airport."

Ms. Reinbold defended her request to be excused from Senate work on Thursday.

“Being excused DOES NOT mean you will not be present; it just means that the legislative process cannot be harmed by your absence,” she said on Facebook.

If the sole major airline serving Juneau "may unconstitutionally obstruct a legislator's ability to travel safely and on schedule to the Capital," she continued, "it could undermine our representative republic."

The Transportation Security Administration stated last month that it will prolong through January 18 the requirement for travelers in the United States to wear masks at airports, on flights, and on commuter buses and trains.

Mandatory mask wear has become a major source of contention on airplanes, contributing to an increase in disruptive and occasionally violent behavior by passengers who refuse to comply.

The Transportation Security Administration initially declared in February that everyone — save children under the age of two and individuals with certain disabilities — would be required to wear masks on airplanes and in airports in the United States. Since then, the agency has received almost 4,000 reports of mask-related occurrences.

President Biden stated on Thursday that the agency would quadruple the penalty levied against travelers who refuse to wear masks in airports and on commercial airlines. The first-time offender's minimum punishment has been increased to $500. Second-time mask refusal offenders may face a fine of up to $3,000.

“Be prepared to pay if you violate the rules — and, by the way, show some respect,” Mr. Biden urged.

Ms. Reinbold is shown in an April video at the Juneau airport, wearing a mask but disputing with personnel over it.

“We require you to pull up your mask or I will not allow you to board the flight,” an employee informs Ms. Reinbold.

Ms. Reinbold says, "It is up."

“It is not,” the employee states emphatically. “It's just beneath your nose. We cannot afford to have it down.”

It was unclear whether Ms. Reinbold was permitted to board the airplane. She is seen in one of the videos exiting the boarding area.

Ms. Reinbold stated on Facebook in March that she was ordered to leave a committee hearing for failing to wear an approved face shield. Ms. Reinbold was therefore prohibited from entering the State Capitol unless she adhered to health and safety procedures. Later that night, she returned to the Capitol wearing a clear face mask.

“My actions are intended to safeguard my constitutional rights, including civil freedoms, and the rights of those I serve, even in the face of enormous pressure and public scrutiny,” Ms. Reinbold wrote in March.

She did not immediately respond to Saturday's demands for comment.