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Kehoe: COVID liability protection important for Missouri businesses

  

COVID liability protection will be a major reassurance for Missouri businesses when it comes up in the 2021 legislative session, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe said. 

“If you’re anybody who owns any kind of business from a school district to a hospital to a restaurant to a gun store to a manufacturer, I think what you want to know is that you have protections against something that nobody has any control over,” Kehoe said. “You want to have some peace of mind that, if I open the doors of my business to sell a product or to manufacture a product, I am not going to be held responsible if somebody gets this virus because it’s very hard to pinpoint where that came from. I think it’s important for businesses to know they have some protection.”

COVID liability protection legislation was recently withdrawn from the supplemental budget-focused special session and pushed to next year.  

Kehoe joined Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” in the state Capitol to discuss a COVID-19 vaccine, the 2020 elections, and the administration’s focus on infrastructure and workforce development going into the next four years. 

“The governor’s foundation of who he is is workforce development and infrastructure, and we’ve made some progress in both of those areas,” Kehoe said. “I think our infrastructure piece of the conversation in the governor’s full term will continue to evolve, and I believe we’re going to see some ways to fix our funding problem. There are some new ideas that some other states have tried, and more and more stakeholders are getting on board. … We need to continue to advance that. I don’t want to leave this building until we figure out a way to fix that.”

COVID-19 and local control

Sens. Denny Hoskins, Lincoln Hough, John Rizzo, and Brian Williams joined the show as this week’s panel. The senators discussed their communities’ response to the pandemic, including mask mandates and shutdown orders.

Williams, whose district covers St. Louis County, where County Executive Sam Page recently came under fire for new restrictions on bars and restaurants, said some measures were necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus.

“I think right now we need to think about the populations of folks that are really defenseless, and I think it requires us to wear masks and maintain our distance; that’s just what we have to do,” he said. “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel — there’s a positive trajectory around a vaccine, and once we get there I think things will get better for businesses, as well as folks being able to do what they like to do.”

With legislation already being filed to limit the power of county executives like Page, Hough said he expected to see some sort of balance of powers in counties going forward. 

“There’s already some legislation floating around,” Hough said. “Maybe within a certain time frame of a decision being enacted in a community, the elected body of that community would have a retroactive veto, they want to have some oversight and see if it’s working. I think there will be some oversight.”

Watch the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” below.