KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Even though the Kansas City Council voted 10-2 to extend the city’s indoor mask mandate, it’s still uncertain what that will mean for the Missouri attorney general, who’s suing over the issue.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has been peppering the state with lawsuits over masking rules. Most recently on Thursday, his office filed paperwork against Jackson County for its mask mandate.
But Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said with the way his city has handled the situation, Schmitt’s lawsuit against them is now ‘”moot.”
The decision to get the Kansas City Council involved in the mask mandate came after Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed new pandemic-related legislation.
“Recent change in Missouri law requires that any type of order that may create restrictions on business or individual activity for a duration based upon a public health emergency be submitted to the city council or other legislative body for a vote and renewal for a term of 30 days,” Lucas said Thursday while opening discussion on the mask ordinance.
In short, if the city wants to have a mask mandate for longer than 30 days, it needs city council approval. It got just that Thursday afternoon.
But following the Kansas City Council vote and the lawsuit against Jackson County, a vague tweet from AG Schmitt said: “No mask mandates. No lockdowns. No vaccine passports,” followed by an American flag emoji.
Lucas responded to the situation, also over Twitter.
“Folks should start filing for sanctions. As for the Kansas City case, it is now moot. But, campaigns continue,” Lucas wrote, referencing Schmitt’s run for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat.
However, the lawsuit is more general than simple allegations that a state law is not being followed. Instead, Schmitt alleges that the city’s mandate “is a continuation of a series of arbitrary, capricious, unlawful, and unconstitutional COVID-19 related restrictions. There is no reason to allow such orders to continue.”
But passionate testimony from Kansas City 6th District At-Large Councilwoman Andrea Bough spoke to the intentions behind the mandate. She recalled a visit to a hospital in Sikeston, Missouri.
“I had not seen my mother in person since the prior Christmas, but the image of my mother gasping for air is one that I will never forget,” Bough said.
“Yes, she was 86. Yes, she had health issues that caused her to live in an assisted living facility. But those facts also left her vulnerable,” Bough said.
“I sat in my car, talked to a doctor whom I had never met, and made the decision to end life-sustaining treatment for my mother who had tested positive for COVID-19 four days before Christmas,” Bough said.
“Is the mask the best tool? Maybe not. But until we reach the level of immunity that is required to stop the virus and more dangerous mutations, this is the best choice we have,” Bough said.
In a statement, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office reported it is moving forward with discovery for its lawsuit and that litigation is moving “full steam ahead.”
The case, however, currently is not scheduled to have any movement until a case management conference on Nov. 22.