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Lawmakers punt on North Carolina's 'anti-mask' law

An old North Carolina law that targeted the Ku Klux Klan would make face masks "illegal" in public starting August 1.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Back-and-forth talks over just what to do with North Carolina's anti-mask law broke down early Friday morning at the legislature, leaving an odd status quo in place.

For now, masks are legal, with the state's anti-mask law temporarily suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But that runs out Aug 1. Come then, it will be against the law for adults to wear a face mask in North Carolina, despite an order from Gov. Roy Cooper requiring them to wear face coverings in a wide range of public situations.

That may change between now and then. Republican leaders in both General Assembly chambers said they plan to keep talking, and House leaders in particular were optimistic they can find enough common ground to let people wear face coverings without – technically, at least – breaking a law passed decades ago to target the Ku Klux Klan.

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