The Missouri House of Representatives has passed legislation that prevents a county or municipality from delaying evictions unless authorized by state law. House Bill 2062 is sponsored by Rep. Chris Brown, R-Kansas City.

“Under this bill, local political subdivisions would not be able to enact or enforce eviction moratoriums,” he said. “This would only be permissible under an emergency order declared by the governor if enumerated within the emergency order or if authorized by state law.”

Brown said his goal is not to force renters out, but to establish a uniform rule applicable to the entire state.

Rep. Ingrid Burnett, D-Kansas City, opposed the bill, saying that it’s a heavy-handed response to an extraordinary situation.

“Governments, local governments understand the need that we have for to support landlords. So, I think this is a heavy-handed reaction to a very extraordinary circumstance that we had that’s not necessary,” she said.

During the pandemic, the CDC imposed a ban on eviction delays that resulted in financial hardships for property owners. But after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the federal moratorium, St. Louis and St. Louis County implemented local ones.

Rep. Deb Lavender, D-Manchester, opposed the bill, saying that moratoriums were warranted during the pandemic.

“The state did nothing from either side of this equation,” she said. “The state had hundreds of millions of dollars that they could have made small businesses whole. They could have made people whole, and we did not choose to do that with the moneys that we got from the federal government.”

According to Brown, the bill is needed to prevent an unsustainable situation with landlords and municipalities issuing their own eviction delays.

The bill now goes to the Senate for that chamber to decide whether to support it.

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