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Capitol Briefs: Schmitt slams vaccine mandates

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Attorney General Eric Schmitt denounced vaccine mandates Thursday, calling them an attempt to “accumulate, aggregate, and maintain power.”

Schmitt, a frequent opponent of certain COVID-19 health orders, decried mandates as ”dystopian” and warned against governmental overreach as the state grapples with low vaccination rates and an influx of positive cases. 

“If someone says that using fear is good, that is what every tyrant in the history of the world and every dictator in the history of the world has ever said to accumulate, aggregate, and maintain power,” Schmitt said. “People can make these very important decisions themselves, and I don’t want to live in some futuristic, dystopian, biomedical security state. I’m going to do everything I can as attorney general to protect the rights of individuals in this state.”

Schmitt addressed the issue with reporters after announcing his office had filed charges in a 2004 Jefferson County murder. The case was handled by the new Cold Case Unit established by Schmitt last year.

  • While Gov. Mike Parson has opposed the idea of statewide orders, the private sector is free to enact mandates for its employees as case rates spike across the country. Missouri Chamber of Commerce President Dan Mehan recently backed employers’ rights to enact their own policies. 
  • Schmitt has also been a vocal opponent of mask mandates: He successfully temporarily blocked St. Louis County’s reinstated policy last week and quickly challenged Kansas City’s revived month-long mandate. 
  • More than 52 percent of Missouri’s adult population is fully inoculated and 60 percent have received at least an initial dose of vaccine as of Thursday. The state reported more than 14,000 new COVID-19 cases over the past seven days along with 49 deaths.