“Our federal government supplies are not meeting our demand,” Gianforte said. “Each week we ask for as many doses as the federal government gives us and we have proven in Montana that we can get the vaccine quickly to the arms of our most vulnerable. We just need more vaccines.
On Thursday, Gianforte said nearly 22,000 Montanais were fully vaccinated and 92,000 total doses had been administered.
The governor also referred to legislation going to his office to provide liability protection to lawmakers, specifically stating for the first time that Senate Bill 65, passed by Senator Steve Fitzpatrick, meets the protective criteria he needed to lift the state’s mask mandate.
The other metric that Gianforte said the state must meet is to vaccinate more of its population.
“I look forward to … the day when we can take off our masks, throw them in the trash and live our lives in safety. In the meantime, I will continue to wear mine and I will encourage the Montanans to do the same.” said Gianforte, who entered the chambers of the House Thursday night wearing a mask.
The rest of the room was packed with lawmakers generally disregarding social distancing measures and most unmasked Republican lawmakers.
The speech touched on major topics in addition to COVID-19, including access to abortions, a debate that has filled much of the past week in the legislature.