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Springfield Rep. Quade proposes bill to reimburse costs of attorney general’s school masking lawsuits

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 10:15 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - House Minority Leader Crystal Quade of Springfield filed legislation providing full reimbursement to local public school districts for legal expenses incurred defending against frivolous lawsuits filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

The local public school districts would only get the reimbursements if the courts rule in favor of them.

“Local public school budgets are already stretched thin because of the pandemic,” Rep. Quade said. “They shouldn’t have to foot the bill for Eric Schmitt’s shameful campaign stunts.”

She says she is trying to protect Missouri schools.

“We’re trying to make sure that these public education dollars are reserved for public education. So for our students, for our teachers to make sure that our kids are getting what they need.”

Forty-five mask-requiring school districts in Missouri face lawsuits from Attorney General Schmitt. Schmitt on Friday filed a lawsuit seeking to halt 36 districts from requiring masks amid a record surge in COVID-19 cases. On Monday, he added nine more. Most of the districts are in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas. The Waynesville School District is the only one in the Ozarks.

Schmitt says parents, not bureaucrats, should be making health decisions for children. He questions the effectiveness of masks, although health experts say masks slow the virus’ spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found strong evidence mask mandates help.

In a statement sent to KY3, a spokesperson for the Missouri Attorney General said, " We’re not going to stand by while these school districts continue to force children to mask all day - it goes against the science and imposes significant, real, and lasting psychological impacts on children and teens. School districts that continue to enforce mask mandates are plainly breaking the law. We gave non-compliant school districts ample time to come into compliance, and while some did, others did not and were met with litigation as promised. The legislature should hold school districts liable for the damage their mask mandates have caused - the tutors, the therapists, the speech pathologists that will be needed because of these harmful policies.”

State Sen. Doug Beck, of Affton, pre-filed similar legislation, Senate Bill 922, in December.

“The attorney general is abusing the powers of his office to stop schools from keeping kids and teachers safe,” Beck said. “I am in disbelief we are even having this conversation. He is even suing the St. Louis County Special School District, which educates some of our most vulnerable children. This has got to stop.”

In November, Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green declared that health orders issued by local authorities under state health regulations were “null and void.”

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