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Republican Lawmaker Banned From Alaska Airlines After Refusing To Wear A Mask

State Sen. Lora Reinbold (R-AK) reportedly had to travel more than 14 hours by car and ferry to Alaska’s capital Juneau to attend Monday’s legislative session.

In this Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 file photo, Alaska state Sen. Lora Reinbold (R) holds a copy of the Alaska Constitution during a committee hearing in Juneau, Alaska. Reinbold has been a vocal critic, along with other lawmakers, of Gov. Mike Dunleavy's disaster declarations while the Legislature was not in session. She has used her committee to amplify voices of those who question the effectiveness of masks and the usefulness of the government's emergency response. | AP Images
In this Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 file photo, Alaska state Sen. Lora Reinbold (R) holds a copy of the Alaska Constitution during a committee hearing in Juneau, Alaska. Reinbold has been a vocal critic, along with other lawmakers, of Gov. Mike Dunleavy's disaster declarations while the Legislature was not in session. She has used her committee to amplify voices of those who question the effectiveness of masks and the usefulness of the government's emergency response. | AP Images

State Sen. Lora Reinbold (R-AK) has been banned from an airline she relies on to travel to the state’s capital after officials said she refused to abide by the company’s mask policy.

Alaska Airlines spokesperson Tim Thompson told multiple outlets in a statement this week that Reinbold is “not permitted to fly” with them after her “continued refusal to comply with employees instruction regarding the current mask policy.”

A video published on Twitter last week by a local news outlet showed Reinbold having a tense conversation with airport staff. In the video, Reinbold is seen refusing to wear a mask and the police eventually show up. According to Reinbold’s Facebook, she “wore a cdc shield to check in,” was able to board the flight the day of the video wearing a mask, and had a “pleasant safe flight with happy flight attendants.”

The video follows social media posts from November 2020 when Reinbold called the airline’s staff “mask bullies” and accused them of “mask tyranny” for telling her to wear one during a flight. According to Anchorage Daily New, after her disagreement in November, Reinbold sent a cake to the flight staff that said, “I’m sorry if I offended you.”

Reinbold reportedly relies on Alaska Airlines to travel from Anchorage to the state’s capital city Juneau to attend legislative sessions. Alaska Airlines is the only company that regularly flies between the two cities. According to a Facebook post on Sunday, Reinbold said she was forced to drive and take a ferry to get to Juneau for work after the flight ban. CNN reported that the trip took more than 14 hours by car, plus the ferry ride.

“Federal law requires all guests to wear a mask over their nose and mouth at all times during travel, including throughout the flight, during boarding and deplaning, and while traveling through an airport,” airline spokesperson Thompson continued in his statement.

Reinbold said on Facebook that she learned of the ban before she “knew there was even an inquiry.” She also added: “Alaska Airlines sent information, including my name, to the media without my knowledge nor permission. I do believe constitutional rights are at risk under corporate covid policies.”

Reinbold has been outspoken against mask mandates and other public health recommendations as the COVID-19 virus continued to spread in Alaska and across the U.S. She has also clashed directly with Alaska’s Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) who in February said she “misrepresents” the state’s COVID-19 stance and declared he would no longer attend hearings led by Reinbold.

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