KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A local mask mandate has sparked a Twitter debate between to political leaders, and soon it could head to the courts.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said he requested a meeting with Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt one day after Schmitt announced he planned to file a lawsuit over the city’s reinstated indoor mask mandate.
Lucas said he wanted to talk about any legal concerns Schmitt had about the mandate that takes effect in Kansas City, Missouri, on Monday. But Lucas said Schmitt’s office told him the attorney general couldn’t fit a meeting into his schedule.
Lucas announced the new mandate Wednesday. It applies to everyone age 5 and older, regardless of vaccine status.
“This mask mandate is about politics & control, not science,” Schmitt said in a tweet Wednesday. “You are not subjects but citizens of what has been the freest country in the world & I will always fight for you.”
Lucas quickly snapped back, saying: “Dude, the order hasn’t even been filed yet. What are you suing about? Do you want us to just schedule a debate on Fox News so you can get press? I’m down!”
Schmitt filed a similar lawsuit Monday after a mask mandate took effect in the St. Louis area.
The lawsuit said the mandate “undermines the important push for vaccinations” and that mandating children to wear masks in school is arbitrary and capricious because they are less likely to become seriously ill.
“At the local level, you are the government that touches the people the most, so you have lots of authority to give emergency orders to protect the public,” Kansas City attorney Phil LaVota said.
LaVota said this is a typical power struggle between city and state officials. Mayors have the right to issue emergency orders, but the Missouri Legislature recently passed a law that requires city council approval to renew them.
But Schmitt is threatening to take away Lucas’ power to implement a mask mandate altogether.
It’s expected that Schmitt will file a lawsuit early next week that will most likely be similar to the one he filed in St. Louis. LaVota also expects Schmitt will file a temporary restraining order to block the mandate immediately.
“It takes a lot of evidence to do that and a lot of swaying on their part to do that, and it’s going to make that an uphill climb to have a temporary restraining order issued,” LaVota said.
FOX4 put in a public records request for Schmitt’s schedule to find out what’s on his schedule and preventing a meeting with the mayor of Missouri’s largest city. His office responded: “I’ll forward your records request to our custodian of records.”
Schmitt’s office also said he was too busy to do an interview with FOX4 for this story.