More than a month since Gov. Greg Abbott lifted his statewide mask mandate, the Texas House voted to remove the requirement that members and visitors wear masks in the chamber and in committee hearings.

The House rules requiring masks were adopted shortly after the Legislature convened in January.

House Resolution 333 by State Rep. Tom Oliverson (R–Cypress) was filed back on March 16 and was originally heard in the House Administration Committee on March 29.

At the time, however, Oliverson asked that the bill be left pending, as he no longer believed it would be appropriate to lift the requirement after hearing testimony.

This week, however, the resolution was given another hearing. This time, the resolution was brought to the floor of the House.

β€œThese rules were never meant to be permanent,” said Oliverson. He went on to say the rules were something that could be brought to the House floor and revisited “if the situation had changed.”

Oliverson added, β€œWe should all be more sensitive in the few weeks that we have remaining to the fact that there may be folks that suddenly feel more uncomfortable, and they’re members of the public, and they’d like to have a chance to participate in my committee. But I would just submit to you that I think there’s pretty much nowhere else you can go in this Capitol where members of the public are not wandering through the halls … without masks all the time.” 

The resolution ultimately passed with 99 yeas and 46 nays.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, visitors are required to wear a mask and submit to a COVID test or show proof of vaccination before participating in Senate hearings.Β