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by Michael Peroutka

There is no law that requires you to wear a facemask.

Likewise, there is no law that requires a place of business to require you to wear a facemask while visiting their property. 


If there was such a law in Maryland, it would be the result of a constitutional legislative process whereby both houses of the Maryland General Assembly voted on it favorably. *1


If it then received the Governor’s signature it would become law provided it did not violate the United States Constitution or the Maryland Constitution.  *2


Larry Hogan has issued an executive order regarding the wearing of face masks. Hogan claims that he has authority to do so pursuant to Emergency Powers legislation passed by the general assembly.  He further claims that his orders are “law” or have the “force of law.” *3


This is not accurate for at least three reasons:


Firstly, neither the statute on which the Governor relies, nor any other statute which pretends to give him the authority to make law, are valid.  Law making authority is vested in the legislative branch and cannot be “delegated” nor transferred in any way to the Executive Branch. *4


Secondly, the legislature cannot, by means of “pretended” legislation, confer upon the Governor “pretended” authority which supersedes the limits on his authority established under the Maryland Constitution. *5


Thirdly, executive orders which are otherwise valid, apply only to those in the executive branch of government, not to the general public.


For these reasons, there exists no “law” requiring the wearing of facemasks.  Statements made by government officials or media or businesses to the contrary are inaccurate and misleading.  Similar statements made by businesses or their agents are also false and may be actionable civilly or criminally.


*1.Maryland Constitution, Article III, Sec. 29, 30.

*2. Maryland Constitution, Article III, Sec. 31

*3. Order of the Governor of Maryland, Number 20-04-15-01

*4. Maryland Constitution, Declaration of Rights, Article 8

*5. Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 44