Attorney explains new law’s impact on St. Louis County mask mandate battle

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ST. LOUIS – You need a scorecard to keep up with Missouri’s mask or no mask mandates from school districts to city and county governments.

Fox 2 legal analyst attorney Chet Pleban clarified the mask confusion out on the Lakeside Renovation and Design Weather Deck.

Pleban said House Bill 271 says if an order is issued relative to a public health matter by a local official, it must also be approved of by some sort of local council within 20 or 30 days depending upon if it’s an emergency. If it is not approved by the council, then the order can be overruled.

This applies to the mask mandate disagreement between St. Louis County and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

Attorneys representing St. Louis County and the state failed to reach a compromise Wednesday after being ordered to work on one Tuesday. The two parties were told by Hon. Ellen Ribaudo on Wednesday to keep working on a compromise and report back on Thursday.

St. Louis County’s attorney told the judge Wednesday the county offered a compromise. It was willing to publish a memo stating the mask policy would not be enforced unless there was an extraordinary case. Many critics of the mandate contend the order had no real enforcement mechanism in place.

The attorney representing the state told the judge the state would accept a mask recommendation but not a continuation of what he called an “unlawful” order.

If the parties fail to reach a compromise, the judge will hold a hearing allowing both sides to present their cases before she hands down a ruling.

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