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Washington: Arguments around masks ‘a shame’


More input from state leadership on issues such as mask orders would benefit Missouri in the fight against COVID-19, state Rep. Barbara Washington said.

“Some places where there is local control and a mask mandate has been enforced have been positive,” she said. “I think we need to look at each individual area, but I do think if the governor said something straight and gave some guidance it would bring people together to see what’s best for the state of Missouri.” 

Washington went on to call the political arguments around mask mandates “a shame.”

Washington appeared on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” in Kansas City to discuss COVID-19, the recently-concluded special session on violent crime, and her Senate campaign. 

Washington said she was grateful for her success in the primaries, and she hoped to continue to serve her district in a new role after November. 

She also expressed surprise that the special session ended as abruptly as it did on the House side but said she saw flaws in the concurrent jurisdiction provision which would have given the attorney general the authority to take over homicide cases in St. Louis after 90 days. 

“I was going to vote no,” she said. “I’ve worked in the prosecutor’s office before, and I think it’s a bad precedent to set because prosecutors are elected locally, and the 90-day stipulation is very quick.” 

She said the time limit would give police and prosecutors too narrow a window to solve a case.    

Special session and COVID-19

Reps. Bill Kidd and Ashley Bland Manlove also appeared on the show to continue the discussion on violent crime. Kidd discussed the House’s decision to drop the concurrent jurisdiction piece and two other special session bills last week.

“It’s just as important to kill bad legislation as it is to pass good legislation,” he said. “Sometimes you have to put the brakes on and think we might have unintended consequences that might happen with some of these bills.”

“I’m actually proud of the Speaker for stepping up and shutting it down because this was not a productive conversation to actually fix crime in Missouri,” Manlove said.

Danny Pfeifer of the Catalyst Group and Will Ruder of the Home Builders Association gave an overview of Kansas City’s economy in the wake of COVID-19. Pfiefer said the impact of the virus had been relatively minimal with many businesses quick to adapt to new conditions. 

“I think we’ve come through it; you’re starting to see the city come back to life,” he said. “Restaurants and bars are open, people are out and about, I think we’ve seen the worst of it.”

“There’s no playbook that anyone’s going off of here. We’re kind of writing the rules as we go, and when people are making 30-year investment decisions on their mortgage, fits and starts are not terribly conducive to a high level of consumer confidence,” Ruder said. “I think the fact that we’re growing as a housing market and a city is reflective of that can-do attitude that we’re going to make the best decisions we can with the information available to us.”

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