JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
A Cole County judge on Wednesday denied a bid by local health departments and counties including Cooper County to appeal his decision invalidating health orders.
Judge Daniel Green issued the order after counties including Cooper, Jackson and St. Louis asked to appeal Green's November ruling that said nonelected officials cannot issue health orders, like those meant to fight coronavirus spread, under state law.
The county health departments and governments asked to intervene in the lawsuit against the state health department, which originated in St. Louis County, after Attorney General Eric Schmitt said he would not appeal, even though the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services had asked his office to challenge the ruling.
The Cooper County Health Center asked the courts to review the case on appeal to clarify Green's ruling. Some health officials have interpreted the decision as invalidating all health orders, even those that don't apply to coronavirus.
"Based on the apparent misinterpretation of the scope and applicability of the Judgment by the Attorney General, as well as his statements that the Judgment will not be appealed by the State, the confusion and significant uncertainty which have been created will continue to persist," the Cooper County Health Center argued. That uncertainty includes what regulatory power county health officials retain and whether Green's decision meant to nullify all local health orders."
Schmitt threatened legal action against school districts with mask mandates, citing Green's ruling. He also sued the school district over the mandate. Many school districts, including Columbia Public Schools, have since dropped their mandates.
Several health departments across the state also stopped reporting coronavirus case numbers and deaths and performing contact tracing after receiving letters from Schmitt.