The Alaska State Senate has granted a lawmaker a four-month furlough after she was banned from the only airline traveling to the state capital for refusing to wear her mask properly.
Lora Reinbold, a Republican representing a suburb of Anchorage, was filmed in April arguing with Alaska Airlines employees. In the video, she wrote down the names of employees and filmed them asking her to cover her nose.
On Thursday, she told her colleagues she will not be able to appear in person for floor voting between Sept. 11 and Jan. 15, “because there is no airline other than Alaska Airlines that flies to Juneau during that time as far as I know.”
“The political ban is still in effect as long as Biden’s illegal mask mandate is in effect on private and public transport,” she said, according to the statement. New York Times.
Reinbold represents the Anchorage suburb of Eagle River, which is 850 km by road to the state capital Juneau.
Alaska State Senator Lora Reinbold, 57, has been exempted from the legislative floor for four months due to travel issues stemming from her Alaska Airlines ban
On Thursday, she accused Alaska Airlines of ‘undermining our representative republic’
In April, the Republican legislator was indefinitely banned from the airline after arguing with staff over mask rules. The incident was captured on video and shared on social media
The Republican-led chamber accepted her request without objection.
Days after the airport incident in April, Reinbold worked to get around the no-fly zone by completing a 500-mile, 40-hour trip to the state capital by car and ferry.
On Thursday, she took to Facebook to argue that airline masking rules “could undermine our representative republic.”
“I asked for an apology because Delta’s last flight is September 11. Sen Steadman & Von Imhoff have asked for longer apologies. Being apologised does NOT mean you won’t be here, it means the legislative process can’t be slowed down if you’re not there,” she said.
Federal Aviation Authority investigations have skyrocketed following the COVID-19 pandemic, driven largely by passengers refusing to comply with pandemic protocols
“Maybe it’s time to transfer legislative power to the road network. If the only airline that has flights during the session to Juneau can unconstitutionally impede lawmakers from traveling safely and on time to the capital, it could undermine our representative republic.”
The Federal Aviation Authority has seen a massive increase in in-flight disruptions since the start of the pandemic, largely due to passengers refusing to follow the COVID-19 protocol.
The agency has launched 752 investigations so far this year, up from 146 investigations in all of 2019.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that the Transportation Security Administration would double fines to $500 for passengers who refuse to wear masks. The second fine would be $3,000.
In another incident last year, Reinbold called airline personnel “mask bullies” over COVID-19 rules. She reportedly apologized by sending a cake that read, “I’m sorry if I offended you.”
“If you break the rules, be prepared to pay — and show some respect, by the way,” he said.
Reinbold, 57, is from the Eagle River suburb of Anchorage. She has served in the Alaska Legislature since 2013, when she began serving as a member of the United States House of Representatives.
Video from April shows airline staff telling Reinbold that her mask should cover her nose and mouth. In a second video, Reinbold appears to be filming the staff.
Reinbold told Anchorage Daily News that she had asked for a “mask waiver with tense staff at the counter.”
“I was reasonable with all Alaska Airlines employees,” she said, adding that she was able to board the flight to Anchorage.
Days after her April travel ban, Reinbold completed a 40-hour, 500-mile journey by car and ferry from her home district to Alaska’s capital, Juneau.
“Please thank my husband for giving up his birthday to take a long unexpected trip to Juneau by road/ferry!” she wrote on Facebook at the time.
The temporary solution was longer than a flight and involved crossing the Canadian border
She insisted she “respected” the airline’s policies and obscurely insinuated that the no-fly zone was part of a plot to prevent her from voting against the disaster bill.
Last year, she called Alaska Airlines staff “mask bullies” after being asked by flight attendants to wear masks aboard a flight, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
After the incident, she reportedly sent a cake to some flight attendants that read, “I’m sorry if I offended you.”
Plane vs Boat: Anchorage to Juneau
Alaska Marine Highway System Ferry
- Traveling approximately 36 hours
- Tickets $266
- Rides three times a month
Alaska Airlines Flight
- Flight takes 90 to 100 minutes
- Tickets around $400
- Three non-stop flights a day
Alaska Airlines, which has banned more than 500 people, says Reinbold is prohibited from flying with them “while federal mask policy is in effect.”
“Federal law requires all guests to wear a mask over their nose and mouth at all times while traveling, including during the flight, boarding and alighting and while traveling through an airport,” the airline said in a statement.
In April, Reinbold completed a 40-hour journey by car and ferry to the state capital after being banned from Alaska Airlines.
She was in time to vote against a major bill extending Alaska’s pandemic emergency.
“Alaska, I have gone to new heights to serve you and have gained a new appreciation for the ferry system. I am well aware of the monopoly in air transport to Juneau that needs to be reviewed!’ she wrote on Facebook at the time.
“Please thank my husband for giving up his birthday to take a long unexpected trip to Juneau by road/ferry!” she added.
Reinbold has been outspoken about her stance against mask mandates and has questioned the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Why get an experimental MRNA “vax” that’s still under EUA emergency use authorization even after you’ve had covid? A strange virtue signal to encourage others?’ she wrote on Facebook in April.
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, also a Republican, accused Reinbold of spreading misinformation in a February letter.
He wrote: “You have used your position as a member of the Alaska State Senate to publicly misrepresent the state of Alaska’s response to a global health crisis.
“You challenged the motives of unelected and non-political employees working for the State of Alaska with baseless allegations that were repeatedly shown to you to be false.
“In providing the information that unequivocally illustrates the glaring inaccuracies in your public statements about the state of Alaska’s health response, you continued to betray public confidence with those statements.”