CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – Missouri State Senator Andrew Koenig plans to file a bill to limit the power of municipalities to call for shutdowns. It’s a bill other area state lawmakers are also backing
This comes as St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page put a stop to indoor dining on Tuesday, November 17 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Koenig and a few other state lawmakers held a press conference Tuesday, December 1 outside Satchmo’s Bar & Grill in Chesterfield to outline the bill. Satchmo’s has remained defiant through St. Louis County’s restaurant shutdown orders.
“Killing small business will not kill COVID,” said State Rep. Jim Muprhy (R- Mehlville).
Koenig’s bill would allow for a two-week maximum shutdown over a two year period of time. After that, it would have to go through the General Assembly and signed by the governor. No shutdown would be able to occur without a legislative body voting on it first.
He said the bill would have no restrictions on religious institutions, no business owner should have to pay property tax while under the shutdown, and there would be no limit on how many family members can be in a home at once.
Koenig also said the bill works to protect parental rights. He said fathers would be able to see the births of their children despite an emergency. He also said babies would not be able to be taken from their mothers directly after birth due to a public emergency.
The bill has an emergency clause in it, causing it to go into effect immediately after it passes and Governor Mike Parson signs it.
Koenig said he has not gone over the specifics of the bill with Parson.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page responded to the possible legislation during Monday’s COVID news briefing.
“I haven’t seen this legislation today so I can’t comment specifically on it, but every year in the state legislature, 2,000 or 3,000 bills are sponsored and offered for discussion,” he said.
Page pointed out that most of them die and that he believes public opinion is on his side.