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St. Louis County executive vetoes bills that would strip his power during pandemic

The St. Louis County council voted on Oct. 19 to approve the bills

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County Executive Sam Page vetoed two bills Monday that would strip him and the county health department of emergency powers related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The St. Louis County council voted on Oct. 19 to approve the bills. Council members voted 4-3, with Democrat Rita Days crossing party lines and voting with the three Republicans on the council.

Minutes after the vote, Page tweeted he will not sign the bills. Monday, Page fulfilled his promise, officially vetoing the bills during a press conference.

"The public health decision should be made by public health officials," Page said. "They shouldn’t be political. We have some on our county council who choose politics over science. I don't. I trust science."

The bills would have required the council approval for any mandate that lasts longer than 15 days, including wearings masks in all public spaces in the county and limiting the capacity of businesses.

"The council majority tried to wrest control of crafting public health orders from public health officials and take it for themselves, for the lives of those who are struggling with COVID-19 to be tossed around like a political football," Page said.

County councilmember Tim Fitch introduced the bills last week, saying it's about oversight. He also said last week the council could override the veto with enough votes.

After the press conference, Page posted photos of the vetoes bills on Twitter.

Fitch fired back on Twitter, saying, "Page & others NEVER offered any changes to the legislation.  He's made it clear that he won't support ANY oversight of his decisions. #NotAboutMasks."   

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