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Jackson County to consider new mask mandate Monday: Lee's Summit, MO AG responds

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Posted at 5:04 PM, Dec 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-10 20:12:28-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Jackson County Legislature is considering a resolution to reinstate a mask mandate for 30 days on Monday.

Scott Burnett and Crystal Williams introduced the motion, which cites a rise in COVID-19 cases, low vaccination rates and the emergence of new strains of COVID-19, such as delta and omicron, as backing for a new mandate.

The county's last mandate ended on Nov. 12 after legislators voted 5-4 to end it early. It was originally set to expire Nov. 22 after being extended on Nov. 1.

A new mandate would be in effect until Jan. 12, 2022, or 30 days after adopting the resolution, depending on whichever is later.

The meeting to discuss the proposed resolution will take place Monday, Dec. 13, at 10:00 a.m. at the Jackson County Courthouse.

Lee's Summit, which is located partly in Jackson County and partly in Cass County, has already issued its response to the news.

“Our citizens have been subject to the decisions of Jackson County when it has pertained to social distancing, wearing masks and capacity limits. Our citizens can make independent decisions to protect themselves and their families," Lee's Summit Mayor Bill Baird said in a release. "We are at a point where vaccines are available to our eligible population, personal protection is easily available, and COVID testing is offered on a frequent basis."

Lee's Summit City Council will hold a special session on Dec. 13 at 4 p.m., after the Jackson County Legislature will have made its decision, in order to consider a resolution in response to the county.

The resolution up for debate would oppose the Jackson County mask mandate. If adopted, "the city manager will be advised to not assign designated resources to support the Jackson County mask mandate."

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt also spoke out on the possible mask mandate, tweeting that his office sent a letter Friday afternoon regarding the "illegal mask mandate."

"It is my duty to interpret and enforce the law and I won't back down," Schmitt tweeted.

Schmitt attached the letter to his tweet that cites state law prohibits the mandate as "local public health authorities may not issue such public health orders."

He also threatened legal action if Jackson County is to move forward with such a resolution.

"Let Missourians make health decisions for themselves and their families," Schmitt said in the letter. "Yesterday, St. Louis County finally acknowledged that their order could not withstand legal scrutiny. If you choose to move forward with an illegal order on Monday, my office will take action."