“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of Dec. 13: Letting Missourians Decide What Is Best

Since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic last year, there has been a number of cities and counties throughout our country that have made tough decisions intended to protect the health of the residents of their communities. While I realize these actions have been taken out of an abundance of caution, we have seen a number of businesses close, along with people losing employment because of these actions.

Here in Missouri, the Legislature has worked to find ways to allow communities to continue to have the ability to issue such mandates, but with the understanding they are meant to be short-term solutions. This lets local officials continue to do what is right for their own communities without bankrupting business owners and unknowingly putting people out of work.

Recently, our attorney general began actively seeking out school districts, and other local entities, that continue to impose mask mandates and quarantine rules. This is being done because of a Cole County judge’s ruling that says such mandates are unconstitutional. In my opinion, both the court ruling and the attorney general’s diligence point to a new vision of quarantine and mask rules. After more than a year of guidance from health care professionals, we are starting to live in “the COVID world.” In other words, I think most of us have learned how to navigate our lives during the pandemic, and take the necessary safety precautions to keep ourselves and those around us safe.

Yes, it is imperative to “follow the science,” but it also important to realize we cannot be kept safe from everything. We cannot live in a bubble and be protected by the government at all times. Instead, we take the information we have and live our lives the best way we can. We have to trust in God, as well as our friends and neighbors, in order to continue to live our lives in the best way possible. This does not mean to be reckless with our actions during the remaining days of the pandemic, but the judge’s order reminds us we have the freedom to live our own lives how we best see fit.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.