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Parson signs legislation limiting local leaders’ pandemic powers

The bill also prohibits local COVID-19 vaccine passports for residents using public services

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has signed legislation that limits the authority of local government leaders to issue public health orders. The bill also prohibits local COVID-19 vaccine passports for residents using public services.

According to a release, HB 271 says "political subdivisions may only issue public health orders that directly or indirectly restrict access to businesses, churches, schools or other places of assembly for 30 calendar days in a 180-day period when the governor has declared a state of emergency."

The bill says those orders can be extended more than once with a majority vote by the local governing body.

Without a state of emergency issued, local leaders can only limit access to businesses, churches, schools or other places of assembly for 21 calendar days in a 180-day period. That order can be extended more than once with a two-thirds vote by the local governing body.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, most frequently criticized for such orders and sued over them in May by the Missouri attorney general, had fought against such legislative action.

In addition to the power limits, Parson signed legislation that prohibits county or municipal governments that receive public funding from imposing COVID-19 vaccine passports in order for residents to access transportation systems or other public services.

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