Who Will Speak For the Family Businesses They Shut Down?
Late last night and into the wee hours of today, the Missouri Senate debated a bill that sought to rein in many of the local government COVID excesses of the last year, including requiring local elected officials to vote on whether entire classes of businesses should be closed for extended periods of time. After hours of filibuster, the bill failed—with several members of the majority party voting against the measure.
I have to say I am disturbed. During last night’s debate, the conversation seemed to make it clear that some senators have more common cause with local political officials than they do with the people who elected them. The role of the legislature isn’t to simply defend bad local decisions. The role of the legislature is to defend constituents—the people who elected them in the first place—against bad local decisions.
Keep in mind it wasn’t long ago that the state stopped local officials from banning plastic bags. The state was also okay with stopping local officials from hiking their minimum wages locally, for fear of the business-destroying effects the higher wage requirement might have.
But straight up banning entire categories of legal businesses from operating for indeterminate periods of time?
The state senate is A-OK with that.
How excruciatingly unserious.
State elected officials are elected by the public, not by local bureaucrats, and it’s the interests of those regular Missourians that the legislature is duty-bound to prioritize. State officials need to realize now, not later, that they are elected to be a check on local officials. Their job is not to rubber stamp business-destroying decisions simply because a local official did it. Their job is to fight those decisions and protect their constituents from them.