ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – St. Louis County Executive Sam Page is vetoing a pair of bills Tuesday; one that would prohibit pedestrians from being on a roadway, and another that targeted tobacco sales near schools.
The roadway legislation, known as Bill 86, passed the St. Louis County Council earlier this month. The bill, introduced by Councilman Ernie Trakas, prohibits pedestrians from walking, running, sitting, or simply standing in a roadway when a sidewalk is provided.
If a sidewalk isn’t nearby, then people would be allowed to move on the left side of a roadway or on a shoulder facing traffic coming in the opposite direction.
The bill passed the council by a narrow 4-3 vote on May 16. Trakas said the bill was about improving public safety. Others raised concerns that the bill targets the homeless, and those with disabilities who might have a difficult time navigating sidewalks that are in poor condition.
Doug Moore, a spokesman for the county executive’s office, shared that pedestrian safety is a concern, but he argued that making it illegal to walk in the streets is not the answer.
Moore said Page is likely to push for an education campaign on pedestrian safety and a legislative agenda that prioritizes funding for infrastructure improvements focused on motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, before any legislation.
The county council could try to override Page’s veto, but they would need five votes to do it, and the bill only passed with four votes initially.
However, Councilman Mark Harder, who supported the bill, told FOX 2 that he believes the council might be able to come up with the five votes that are needed to override Page’s veto.
Page also vetoed Bill 73, which would allow some businesses to continue selling tobacco within 1,000 feet of a school.
In 2019, the St. Louis County Council passed a law prohibiting the sale of tobacco within 1,000 feet of a school. Stores that already sell tobacco are allowed to continue sales, but that exemption goes away if the store switches owners.
Moore said that while Page recognizes the council’s intent to assist these businesses, their decision cannot come at the expense of our children’s safety.
That bill also passed the council by a 4-3 vote.
In a statement, Council Chairwoman Shalonda Webb said “not one extra cigarette would have been sold” because of Bill 73, and claimed St. Louis County is the hardest place in the state to open or run a business.