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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri lawmaker filed a bill that would reimburse school districts for legal costs incurred while defending lawsuits filed over mask mandates.

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, filed the legislation Wednesday morning. In a statement she called the lawsuits “frivolous.”

“Local public school budgets are already stretched thin because [of] the pandemic,” Quade said. “They shouldn’t have to foot the bill for Eric Schmitt’s shameful campaign stunts.”

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is also running for U.S. Senate, sued 45 public school districts in Missouri in the past week.

In the lawsuits, Schmitt says that school districts do not have the authority to impose public health orders for students. He also said face masks create a barrier to education that outweighs benefits.

The bill filed by Quade follows a similar bill that was pre-filed by Sen. Doug Beck, D-Afton, in December.

“The attorney general is abusing the powers his office to stop schools from keeping kids and teachers safe,” Beck said. “I am in disbelief we are even having this conversation. He is even suing the St. Louis County Special School District, which educates some of our most vulnerable children. This has got to stop.”

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