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Gov. Parson to sign bill limiting local pandemic powers

Gov Mike Parson press conference.jpg
Posted at 8:36 AM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 09:45:31-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson will sign a bill Tuesday morning that will limit local government abilities to issue pandemic orders.

House Bill 271 was signed into law in a ceremony at 8:30 a.m.

The bill will limit the abilities of local jurisdictions to issue pandemic-related public health orders that restrict businesses, churches and schools for more than 30 days during a six-month period under a governor-issued state of emergency.

HB 271 also prevents local jurisdictions from issuing orders that close a single subdivision of public places for more than 21 days outside of a state of emergency.

Extending any of the above orders for another 30 or 21 days would require a vote of the governing body who issued the order.

“This legislation I am signing today requires local leaders to be more transparent in their reasoning and accountable for their decisions when it comes to public health orders,” Governor Parson said after the signing.

Under the bill, the Department of Health and Senior Services also loses the power to authorize any kind of override of the new law.

This comes after many jurisdictions, including Kansas City, issued public health orders during the pandemic that lasted for months at a time and either closed or limited businesses and other entities in their operations in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

HB 271 also has a small section of text that prevents any county or city that receives public funds from requiring proof of vaccination to access public services such as transportation.

“It also prohibits local, publicly funded entities from requiring a vaccine passport in order for residents to use public services, and while we encourage all Missourians to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it is not the government's job to force them," Parson added.