City, state leaders face legal battle over mask mandates in Missouri

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s attorney general is tapping into fears about government mandates for masks and vaccinations.

“I don’t want to live in some futuristic, dystopian, bio-medical security state. And I’m going to do everything I can as attorney general to protect the rights of individuals in the state,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said during a news conference on Thursday.

Right now there are no vaccine requirements proposed at a state or city level anywhere.

However, Kansas City is looking to extend its current mask mandate.

If approved by the Kansas City Council, as is, the masking rules would be extended through late September.

There are a few differences between the proposed ordinance and the current health order put in place by Mayor Quinton Lucas on Aug. 2.

One difference has to do with enforcement. The proposed mask mandate extension would codify the involvement of the Kansas City Police Department enforcing the rules, as well as other city departments.

But none of this is happening in a vacuum.

Right now the Schmitt has a lawsuit with Kansas City over its mask mandate. At the same time, Governor Mike Parson is having friction with anxious constituents over his position on these issues.

During a Thursday stop in Harrisonville for his Bicentennial Tour, he received a prickly reception from protesters.

“For crying out loud, this is exactly what they want. For this kind of thing. And now we got full coverage of this,” Parson said, addressing the crowd.

The protesters called for stronger shielding from mask and vaccine mandates. Parson expressed his frustration with the crowd’s disbelief that he is against any mandate.

“And here you are today because you believe the liberal media and you don’t believe me. This is the exact reason President Trump got defeated. Because of this right here. Because you believe the liberal media,” Parson said.

Although there is no mandate at the state level, the Kansas City Council will soon be asked to re-up Lucas’ mask mandate.

As a part of the proposed ordinance, violating the ordinance constitutes an immediate menace to public health and “upon conviction thereof any such person shall be punished by a fine of not less than $25 and not more than $500, or by imprisonment.

About 40% of Kansas Citians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The number has stalled at that level for weeks.

This week the CDC classified the counties which include Kansas City as a high transmission area for the Delta variant which is driving up hospitalizations numbers.

But Schmitt, who is currently running to be the GOP’s U.S. Senate candidate in Missouri, said those conditions in public health do not meet a threshold for mandates.

At a campaign stop last Saturday in St. Charles he compared mask mandates to oppression.

“And we sued St. Louis County and we won. We won ladies and gentlemen. A million people have been freed from tyranny. The government, there are going to be no vaccine passports. There are going to be no mask mandates. There’s going to be no lockdowns. Not on my watch. Ladies and gentlemen, we are in a fight to save America,” Schmitt said.

Kansas City’s mask mandate extension ordinance will be discussed next Wednesday at a committee meeting. If approved, it would extend the mandate in spaces of public accommodation until September 23.

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