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State Sen. Dallas Heard, R-Myrtle Creek, seen in this August 2020 appearance in front of the Douglas County Courthouse, has been refusing to wear a mask since the coronavirus pandemic began.

State Sen. Dallas Heard was removed from the Senate floor at the end of Monday’s special legislative session because he was not wearing a mask.

The Senate held the one-day session primarily to approve relief funds for renters and landlords during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Public health officials have repeatedly said a mask helps protect the wearer and others around them from the COVID-19 virus, and mask-wearing on the Senate floor is required under Senate rules.

But Heard has bucked that system, arguing mask-wearing should be an individual’s choice.

Sometimes he has sat in the gallery above, far from other senators. On Monday, he said, he watched the session on video in a room just outside the floor and popped inside as needed to vote on bills, holding a thumb up or down.

Then at the end of the session, Heard went to his desk on the floor for the final vote to adjourn.

Senate President Peter Courtney repeatedly asked Heard to don a mask before having him escorted off the floor.

“You know you don’t have a mask on, you’re supposed to have a mask on, so why don’t you get up and tell us what you want, and then I’m going to ask you to leave the floor please Senator Heard,” Courtney said.

“Simply put, I’m just exercising the rights of the free people of Oregon,” Heard responded.

Courtney asked again for Heard to put on a mask, and Heard said he didn’t have one. Courtney asked him to leave the floor.

“You challenge me because we can go through a whole ritual to expel you,” Courtney said.

Courtney said a lot of people had worked hard and come a long way and he didn’t want to hold them up any longer.

“But I must tell you this is something that makes me sad, very sad Dallas,” he said. “If this continues, and it applies to all of us, including me, assuming the mask mandate still exists we will have to move against individuals who don’t wear a mask.”

After another exchange, he asked Heard again to mask up or leave the chamber.

“The people of Senate District 1 elected me to represent them on this floor at this desk, so no I will not leave,” Heard said.

Courtney then called the roll, and after the vote read the mask rules.

He said Heard was in violation of the rules and will “therefore not be granted access to the Senate floor, chamber, or Capitol buildings until you are in compliance with the rule.”

He then asked the Sergeant of Arms to escort Heard out.

Heard told The News-Review Tuesday the Senate’s mask rule is a “direct violation of fundamental rights.”

“I don’t feel compelled to follow rules that I believe violate my rights and others’,” he said.

Unless he’s on the floor, he said, he has no microphone to speak, and that means his constituents’ voice is restricted.

“At the end of the day I decided it was time for my people to have me back at my desk to where I could speak on the floor if I so chose,” he said.

Heard said he believes mask rules and shutdowns have contributed to an increase in suicide in teens and young adults, among whom there have been comparatively few COVID-19 deaths.

Heard also accused the Democrats of hypocrisy, saying they often stand close together or hug each other in violation of the rules. He also cited recent reports and photographs taken of the governor and the speaker of the House, both Democrats, attending a Washington, D.C. gala without wearing masks.

They seem to think the rules don’t apply to them, he said.

“I don’t fear any virus as much as I fear people who have too much power,” Heard said.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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(41) comments

CitizenJoe

Carisa,

You had me at, "Heard removed"....

Robert Heilman

In essence, Mr. Heard would like to have Oregon handle the Covid19 pandemic in the same "hands off my body" way that Idaho has handled it (as, I assume, so would the "Greater Idaho" proponents. Let's compare: Oregon's Covid death rate is 1.29 per 1,000; Idaho's Covid death rate is 2.19 per 1,000. Given the 2021 populations of both states, this means that, had Idaho handled Covid like Oregon did about 1,677 dead Idahoans would still be alive today; had Oregon handled Covid like Idaho did, some 3,824 Oregonians who are living today would have already died from the disease.

CitizenJoe

Robert Heilman: Yes, and it is even worse. Your numbers include the time frame before vaccines were available. Now, we have the vaccines but the MAGA crowd have politicized them; over 90% of Dems are vaccinated, 60% of Rs, and counties that went for Trump are dying about three times the rate of Biden counties. Douglas is even worse; about six times the rate. Note to Kaydee: nobody is asserting that the virus attacks on a partisan basis; what happens is that some partisans chose to make themselves proportionately more vulnerable. I'm not enjoying Schadenfreude; merely stating facts.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/moderna-omicron-booster-results_n_61c0895be4b0d637ae846aa9

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/12/05/1059828993/data-vaccine-misinformation-trump-counties-covid-death-rate

"In October, the reddest tenth of the country saw death rates that were six times higher than the bluest tenth, according to Charles Gaba, an independent health care analyst who's been tracking partisanship trends during the pandemic and helped to review NPR's methodology. Those numbers have dropped slightly in recent weeks, Gaba says: "It's back down to around 5.5 times higher.""

Really?

Simple question “What is wrong with this JERK”?

melrosereader

They have a video of the incident on IOegonlive.

And to think that we could have had Shannon Souza representing us.

CitizenJoe

melroserader: that is a seriously painful reminder. Shannon is so smart, so hard-working, so well informed, well educated, and dedicated to public service. Douglas County decided that we did not deserve her, and they were right. We deserve Dallas. To our shame.

CitizenJoe

melrosereader: sorry to have botched your good name.

rev_rend

Tangent: Who won Dallas Heard's Dodge Viper? It's the one that Citizens Against Tyranny was selling raffle tickets for. They started selling the tickets at the beginning of the year, before they legally incorporated. The drawing was supposed to be in November, well after they legally disincorporated. The money was supposed to go to businesses, presumably CAT members, many of whom got PPP loans that have since been forgiven. What happened to the money and the car?

Momos

That was just Heard bragging he had a Viper (probably a gift from daddy), and he used it to con a bunch of people out of their money. Now they're too embarrassed to ask for it back. So he pocketed their money. Typical Republican/Trump grift. Typical Republican/Trump supporters being conned out of money. They're in too deep to admit they've been had. And that's the mindset of our commissioners, who gave him the opportunity. Ignorance runs deep in Douglas County.

rcremer

We in Douglas County are in a sad state. The vast majority of the politicians who presume to lead us are incompetent. Dallas Heard leads the lot. Followed closely by the county commissioners who do virtually nothing to better the lives of the citizens they are supposed jot serve. Their response to Covid-19 has been a disgrace. One of them, Chris Boice, even joined Dallas Heard in his anti-mask demonstration. They have done little to resolve the homeless epidemic we suffer from. They have done nothing to spark economic development and diversification of Douglas County's economy. All they do is lie to the voters about the pipe dream of bringing back the timber industry of the 1970s; something all thinking people know will never happen. You are correct Momos, ignorance does run deep here.

melrosereader

And now there is the proposed "Join Idaho" movement. An interesting report, "War on public education in Idaho causes businesses to rethink locating, expanding there," should appeal to the join-Idaho proponents since they appear to shun intelligence. The report says that "The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences for the 2018-2019 school year said only five states and the District of Columbia had worse high school graduation rates than Idaho’s 81%. The Idaho State Department of Education said the graduation rate rose to 82.1% for 2019-2020, a school year that included the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, and the state eliminated some graduation requirements." And on and on the article goes.

https://www.oregonlive.com/education/2021/12/war-on-public-education-in-idaho-causes-businesses-to-rethink-locating-expanding-there-leaders-say.html

Mike

205 Douglas County residents have died since August 20 when County Commissioner press releases began reporting the vaccination status of residents who died of Covid. Below are the vaccination statistics for those 205 Douglas County Covid deaths, not including an infant who died on September 6. Though 50% of Douglas County residents are NOT vaccinated according to the CDC (below link), 80% of Douglas County’s deaths were to UNvaccinated residents. Also, 17 days is the average time it took for Douglas County residents to die after testing positive for Covid.

--------------------------------------------------------Average

-------------------------Number--------%------------Age

Fully Vaccinated------40----------19.6%--------80.4

Not Vaccinated-------164---------80.4%--------69.2

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations-county-view

Mike

For those who don't know, Sen. Dallas Heard was assigned to the Senate Health Care Committee. What would be more ironic is if he became the Chairperson of that committee.

https://ballotpedia.org/Health_Care_Committee,_Oregon_State_Senate

sectorstar

"Heard said he believes mask rules and shutdowns have contributed to an increase in suicide in teens and young adults, among whom there have been comparatively few COVID-19 deaths."

Heard like to frequently use this scientific fact of his to justify his behaviors, yet has never once provided any data to back up his claims. Though now hes changed it to "teens and young adults" in the past he claimed that it made people in his district around the holidays have an increase suicide rate without providing data. Ironically enough I believe it was Mike possibly, had provide the death data for Oregon around this time last year when Heard has his last man child tempter tantrum and showed that Oregon actually had a higher death rate from suicides in 2019 than it did in 2020 during the time of pandemic starting. It wasn't till well into 2020 when things started to get serious with Covid in the U.S. so whatever these people killed themselves over in 2019 was nothing related to Covid

rev_rend

I haven't looked in a while because this claim about suicide prevention was obvious concern trolling from people who don't actually care about suicides. But, the studies I did see actually found a decrease in suicide that coincided with COVID-19 shut downs.

smedleyb

The motto of Coach Bill Belichick anf the New England Patriots "Do your Job!"

Right now Heard all you do is posturing,

Buligajo

First of all I am a conservative, second of all I never voted for Heard. Dallas does not represent me or many of the other conservatives I know. Not sure what one of you said it but Dallas Heard is an idiot and is not doing his job. Please somebody step up with common sense and run against this guy. Unfortunately he is an embarrassment to us all.

Mike

[thumbup]

dejadoodoo

Well, NOBODY actually voted for Dallas Heard to be an Oregon State Senator. I'm not sure why anyone would say he deserves his chair.

rcremer

Gives you pause about the intelligence of the commissioners who appointed him doesn't it?

Mike

It was actually more resounding in Douglas County where he won by 72% to 28% of the 39,000 voters. More residents from Douglas County voted for Sen. Heard than the other 4 counties in the district combined.

That total of 600 votes he got from Jackson County (population 223,000) must have made him feel special.

https://www.usatoday.com/elections/results/race/2020-11-03-state_senate-OR-38347/

Carisa Cegavske Staff
Carisa Cegavske

Sen. Heard was initially appointed to his seat, but later was elected to it. In 2020, voters in his district chose him over his Democratic opponent by a margin of 69% to 31%.

mworden

He was appointed to fill Jeff Kruse's seat, but he had to run for office in 2020. He got 70% of the vote. [crying][ohmy][angry]

Mike

Sen. Heard got a total of 600 votes in Jackson County in 2020 which has a population of 223,000 people.

dejadoodoo

Yeah -- I should have clarified better that I was talking about his fortuitous appointment. Haste make waste.

NJ

Thank you for stepping up. I've been wondering why decent conservatives were not speaking out.

Mike

Sen. Heard is NOT fully committed to exercising the “rights of the free people of Oregon.” He’s only refusing to wear a mask. To show his true commitment, Sen. Heard should appear on the senate floor entirely nude. Not wearing a mask is refusing to wear a tiny scrap of cloth. Sen. Heard needs to take the next step and refuse to wear any cloth at all. That would certainly draw more attention to his beliefs. I can already read the headlines, “the Senator has no clothes.”

dejadoodoo

For America's form of government/leadership be successful, our elected officials -- of all people -- need to work within the established system.

It seems too many young wanna-be leaders are having a hard time presenting themselves as someone with positive ideas and abilities...but find the "angry/rebellious young man" act the only trick that they have to offer. That worked well enough for James Dean, but he crashed and burned. Might be a lesson there somewhere.

NJ

Let's unpack Heard's comments. He states that he's "...just exercising the rights of the free people of Oregon..." against a "...mask rule [that] is a "direct violation of fundamental rights." Yet he fails to provide law text or court decision on exactly what direct violation of fundamental rights he deems are against the freedom of people. It seems as though he would and should provide an understanding of the law he bases his convictions on. Rather he simply just doesn't "...feel compelled to follow rules that I believe violate my rights and others...". So then, he sees himself as a rebel with a cause?

He continues with a seeming concern that he "...decided it was time for my people to have me back at my desk to where I could speak on the floor if I so chose,..." In direct violation of Oregon State Senate mandate to simply wear a mask while doing his job on the Senate floor. I would ask the Senator if he truly believes he's representing the majority of his constituents? Does he have any statistics from the total of his said constituents regarding what their opinion is on how well he represents them?

While "...he believes mask rules and shutdowns have contributed to an increase in suicide in teens and young adults, among whom there have been comparatively few COVID-19 deaths." , he again doesn't offer any proof when he certainly could. More pointedly, what is his exact number of acceptable collateral damage during this relentless pandemic? How many teens need to die for him to be convinced that simply wearing a mask would avoid that acceptable number of deaths? In fact, information indicates that it's not mask wearing that has caused an increase in teen suicide, it's the isolation of living with a pandemic, one in which law makers and leaders are desperately trying to bring under control with both vaccines and by simply wearing a mask.

Heard's statements just don't play out well. He does nothing but show himself to be immature with a misguided agenda to continue fostering division among us by his continued digs at his fellow legislators standing close and hugging - while wearing masks and having been vaccinated against this ever adapting Covid virus that's caused 407,000 cases in Oregon and killed almost 5,500 people in our State.

That's quite a stand for anyone who could simply wear a mask. Heard has shown me that he's too misguided and immature to lead. I would certainly not vote for a candidate so out of touch with those he represents for only a small number of constituents who fall into line with his agenda of disruption and distraction. Heard is no leader.

Momos

Dallas Heard is very representative of the people that elected him. Every time he "sticks it to the libs" he gets accolades from his constituents. He is exactly what the majority of voters in Douglas County want; he is their hero. The rest of the state snickers at Douglas County for good reason, but that's who we are. People here wear their ignorance like it's a badge of honor. So, we get Dallas Heard.

melrosereader

[thumbup]

Wretched722

If someone has had their vaccine(s), they should have no fear of anyone not wearing a mask. Otherwise you are saying you do not believe in the vaccine, nor do you believe in natural immunity. Stop being so ridiculous about this!!!!!

CitizenJoe

Sure, Wretched; and Colin Powell is still alive, right?

The fact is that every vaccine provides protection that is imperfect; I mean, I'm sure you can understand that a vaccine that is 95% effective leaves 5% of folks vulnerable; that a vaccine that is 60% effective still leaves 40% vulnerable, and so on. Jeeze: if 95% of all commercial flights landed safely, and 5% crashed, killing everyone on board, would you fly? Would you advise people you love that "they should have no fear"? How about at the 60/40 level of risk?

Vaccines are imperfect, but useful; ditto masks, distancing, hygiene. But they constitute effective layered protection.

Please cease lying on behalf of the virus.

JustAnotherCitizen

He needs to do his job and stop grandstanding. Do you really think we care at this point of the actual spread of the virus on the senate floor? (most are vaccinated, those not probably don't mask elsewhere)

He is getting paid my taxpayer money to bring attention to himself, and that's about it. For everyone who voted for him you are getting what you knew you would get: the opposite of a Christ-like leader who puts others at risk and brings attention to himself. WWJD is just about the opposite of what Dallas' behavior is.

Gimpy

Hello, screeners at the NRT. Please remove Wretched's post before someone believes her misinformation, has "no fear," gets COVID, and dies. Shame on you, Wretched. People are getting COVID because of the misinformation that you're promoting. If you got your full dose of vaccines--even if you got your booster--you can still get COVID and you can still die. Just ask the families of the thousands of fully vaccinated people who died of COVID.

rcremer

Dallas Heard is an embarrassment to the citizens of Douglas County. He believes that being required to wear a mask violated his fundamental rights. It does not. If he would take the time to become educated on Constitutional Law he would understand that. Just because a person believes they have a right does not make it so. Other than being an embarrassment to our county he has not one accomplishment in Salem. Nor is he respected by other legislators. It is as though we do not have a senator to represent us. He should resign.

rcremer

Dallas Heard is an embarrassment to the citizens of Douglas County. His under educated claims that being required to wear a mask violate a fundamental right is laughable. Unfortunately it betrays his ignorance and undercuts anything else he might take a position on. He has no legislative accomplishments and is not a person listened to in Salem. He should resign.

bmill71

Sen Heard apparently cares more about his so-called fundamental right to ignore rules of conduct than representing his constituents

Democrat

Heard is nothing but a radical traitor. He's good

for nothing..

eball

Dallas Heard is an uneducated idiot and an embarrassment to Douglas County, Oregonians, and society in general.

familyfarm

How can Douglas County's concerns be taken seriously in Salem when we send a buffoon to represent us?

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