Missouri Lawmakers Back New Checks On Local Health Officials

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri legislators have given initial approval to a bill that would bar local health officials from ordering businesses and schools to close for more than 15 days during an emergency without getting permission of elected officeholders. During a debate Wednesday in the GOP-led House, Republicans railed against business restrictions that St. Louis and St. Louis County enacted during the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the area. Rep. Jim Murphy, a St. Louis Republican who sponsored the bill, said no unelected official should have the power to destroy livelihoods without oversight of elected officials. Critics say the bill places more importance on protecting businesses than protecting the safety of the public.