Lawmakers are sending to Gov. Mike Parson a bill that would prevent Missouri cities and counties from enforcing eviction delays unless authorized by state law. A main provision would crack down on people illegally occupying homes and other residential properties. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Chris Brown, R-Kansas City.

“I think this is the third year running that we had passed this out of the House,” said Brown. “It just simply says that municipal governments, local governments are not going to be able to enact a pause in evictions, moratorium in evictions.”

Brown said his goal is to not force renters out, but to establish a uniform rule applicable to the entire state. According to Rep. Brown, his bill strikes a balance between property right protections and stabilizing a landlord-tenant relationship.

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

“There are pieces of this bill that are just plain misguided, in my opinion,” she said. “When we tie the hands of our local officials in times of crisis with, really, unnecessary prohibitions.”

It began with a federal eviction freeze imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in financial hardships for property owners. But after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the federal move, St. Louis and St. Louis County implemented local eviction moratoriums.

While supporting Brown’s bill, Rep. Jamie Johnson, D-Kansas City, was torn because she’s not in favor of contributing to an already existing homeless problem in urbanized cities.

“For that reason, in my heart, I do not like this policy, however, I have heard from several of my constituents, many of my constituents who are those landlords,” said Johnson. “I do understand their plight. I do understand what they went through during COVID and how scary it was for them, as investors.”

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