State Senator Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, has tested positive for COVID-19. He confirmed the news today on Twitter.
“Fortunately, I am experiencing mild symptoms. Out of an abundance of caution, I will be quarantining at home for the next 10 days,” he said.
The Missouri Senate has been in session this week. Koenig attended Senate Committee hearings, along with members of the public, other lawmakers and staffers.
Missourinet contacted Senate Administrator Patrick Baker this morning for information about any contact tracing efforts. So far, we have not received a response.
Koenig introduced a bill Tuesday during a Senate Education Committee hearing and was heard raising his voice several times while he argued with opponents of Senate Bill 23. On Wednesday, the Senate Health and Pensions Committee held a hearing on his Senate Bill 21, which would limit any shutdown to 14 days. For a shutdown to continue any longer than that, Legislative approval would be required.
Under his bill, churches could remain open. The plan would also create a tax credit for businesses who are forced to close their doors in a state of emergency.
During the hearing, Koenig said COVID-19 is a serious virus and should be taken seriously.
“It poses a risk to people who are elderly, people with pre-existing conditions. But shutting down our economy will not eradicate the virus, and this has been proven to be the case,” said Koenig, of St. Louis County. “I don’t think there’s a lot of hard evidence showing that these mandatory lockdowns are scientifically sound and actually work. In a free society, you can lock yourself in your house and not have any human contact and I promise you, you will not get COVID-19. But in a free society, I should have that choice to leave my house. It’s my choice if I want to risk getting COVID-19.”
Koenig pushed back on St. Louis County’s pandemic-related restrictions.
“St. Louis County has violated the Constitutional Rights of the people of St. Louis County,” said Koenig. “And they’ve abandoned science in the process. And so, we are going to protect that.”
Koenig chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee. It is scheduled to hold a hearing Monday. On the agenda is a tax increment financing measure sponsored by Koenig. It is Senate Bill 22.
The Missouri Legislature’s new session began on January 6. Since then, several lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19 or have quarantined after being exposed to the virus.
Last week, the GOP-controlled Missouri House of Representatives rejected a Democratic-led effort to require members to wear a mask on the House floor. Democrats pointed to several maskless Republicans not following CDC guidelines.
Due to a rising number of coronavirus cases, the chamber’s Republican leadership decided to give the full House this week off. House members are expected to get back to business next week.
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