Missouri judge removes power of local health officials to issue COVID-19 warrants • Missouri Independent

Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green ruled on Tuesday that health regulations designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 and issued by local health departments violate the Missouri Constitution.

The case involved regulations issued by the Department of Health and Senior Services that allowed directors of local health agencies to issue orders, such as business closures.

In an 18-page order, Green wrote that DHSS unconstitutionally gave too much power to individual local health officials and directors. The state effectively bypassed the only entities under Missouri law that had granted the power to issue these types of health orders, Green wrote, including county commissions, county councils and certain county health boards.

Missouri law also provides criminal penalties for violations of a public health law passed by a county council or county commission,” Green wrote.

The case, Green wrote, was about whether DHSS regulations “can do away with representative government in creating public health laws, and whether it can authorize the closure of a school or assembly based on the unfettered opinion of a non- elected official.

“This court thinks it is not possible.”

Green said all existing health orders issued unilaterally by local health authorities are “null and void”.

A spokesman for Missouri’s Attorney General Eric Schmitt, whose office defended DHSS in the lawsuit, said in an email to The Independent that “we are aware of the court’s ruling and are prepared to enforce compliance with the law.” to enforce the court order statewide.”

Ben Brown, a restaurant owner in St. Louis County and a candidate for the state Senate, was involved in the lawsuit, which was filed last year. He released a statement saying it was time to “make masks optional, end unnecessary quarantines of Missouri’s children and return to productive lives, while giving individuals the freedom to choose how and when they wear them.” interact with others based on the personal decisions of each person or family.” .”

The mask requirements currently remain in effect in St. Louis and St. Louis County. The Jackson County legislature voted earlier this month to end the demand, and the Kansas City mandate ended Nov. 5, except for schools and school buses.

Green’s statement comes at a time when… Missouri COVID-19 cases start ticking up again after weeks of decline.

The state 1,900 COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday morning, with a seven-day average of 1,588 per day. That is 12.6% higher than the week before and 63% higher than a month ago. Missouri health officials have listed 24 Missouri counties as COVID-19 hotspots due to the increasing number of people infected with the disease.

More than 15,000 Missouri residents have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

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