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Missouri Attorney General Files Suit to Halt St. Louis County’s Latest Attempt to Impose an Illegal Mask Mandate

Jan 5, 2022, 16:29 PM by AG Schmitt
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Today, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit to yet again halt St. Louis County’s attempt to illegally impose a mask mandate on the citizens of St. Louis County.
"Yet again, County Executive Page is attempting to impose his will on the citizens of St. Louis County through the forced masking of adults and even children. Citizens of St. Louis County should have the freedom to choose what is best for them and their families - the government has no authority to force them to wear a mask or get vaccinated,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “My Office has fought Sam Page’s illegal mask mandates from the beginning, and we’re not going to give up now. This is a fight worth fighting.”
 
Last night, the St. Louis County Council approved an order that would impose a mask mandate on St. Louis County, nearly identical to the illegal July 26 and September 27 mask mandates. This mask mandate comes as public health professionals have said that it’s time to “retire the cloth mask,” including some who have said, “Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. There’s no place for them in light of Omicron.”
 
The lawsuit argues that, under the new state law governing the authority of local political subdivisions to issue health orders, the January 5 mask mandate is a prohibited order. Because of that new state law, the lawsuit argues that the January 5 Mask Mandate and any subsequent public health order that has the same effect is unlawful.
 
Further, the lawsuit argues that the January 5 Mask Mandate does not apply to St. Louis County schools, stating, “The January 5 Mask Mandate depends solely on the County’s charter powers and only cites§ 602.020 SLCRO for its authority to issue. School districts are distinct and separate political subdivisions from counties. The Missouri Constitution provides that charter counties, such as St. Louis County, ‘may provide for the vesting and exercise of legislative power pertaining to any and all services and functions of any municipality or political subdivision, except school districts … .’ Even when a charter county may act ‘throughout the entire county’ the Constitution prevents them from exercising legislative power over school districts. St. Louis County has no authority to apply the January 5 Mask Mandate to the school districts within the geographic borders of St. Louis County.”
 
The lawsuit also argues that the January 5 mask mandate is arbitrary and capricious.
 
The full lawsuit can be found here: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/2022-01-05---mo-v-st-louis-county-petition-file-ready.pdf?sfvrsn=182ecb12_2.