The Missouri Legislature came to a halt last Friday at 6pm on the dot. Thank our lucky stars – not a day too soon.
On the very last day, the GOP rammed through an extremely dangerous gun bill with little warning. SB656, an omnibus gun bill, contains “Stand Your Ground” aka “Shoot to Kill” (which has not passed any state since the 2012 Treyvon Martin and Jordan Davis Florida murders) and Permitless-Carry, which would not require a permit or training to carry concealed weapons.
Rep. Kim Gardner spoke Friday during the House floor debate of being stopped – with a gun at her face – for “driving while black” as a young law student. She took my breath away. Listen HERE.
I stood to be recognized for the entire debate but the Speaker refused to call on me (seems to be a pattern). After the GOP cut off debate and passed SB656 (114-36 with 3 Dems in favor: Anderson, Harris & Webber/5 Dems absent), they immediately brought up Senate Resolution 50 naming September as Suicide Awareness Month.
Rep. Tracy McCreery had enough. With tears streaming down her face, she blasted them for their hypocrisy and caring about suicides but NOT about gun violence fatalities.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer, Christian Gooden caught what happened next on the floor (at left). His photo, which perfectly captioned the emotion we felt after the horrendous gun debate, was published in last Sunday’s edition.
Rep. Michael Butler and I, with Reps. Jeanne Kirkton & Jon Carpenter comforting Rep. Tracy McCreery after her impassioned denouncement of GOP hypocrisy.
REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE & ABORTION
Senator Kurt Schaefer (yes, THAT candidate for Attorney General) wasn’t able to get his & Rep. Diane Franklin’s “WitchHunt” bills over the finish line. He had additional “Witch Hunt” failure on May 11th when U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey ruled that Missouri’s attempt to revoke the abortion license of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. So there.
However, Sen. Schaefer as the Senate Appropriations Chair did attempt to defund Planned Parenthood of $300,000 in Medicaid reimbursements for non-abortion healthcare services by turning away $8 million in federal funds from our state.
It’s unclear whether this is legal and we’re awaiting word from the Governor’s office. We do know it’s unethical.
It took the GOP 10 years AFTER the Missouri Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional but they finally passed Voter ID proposals. Missouri voters now get to decide whether to the change the state constitution to allow for photo voter IDs at the polls. The Nation said it best: One of the Most Racially Divided States in the Country Just Passed a New Voter-ID Bill.
The Major Problem? By changing the rules of what is needed to vote, almost 230,000 current voters will be out of luck. They do not have a state issued photo ID for many reasons (they do not use it in their daily life) —and many won’t be able to get one (don’t have the require documents or will have to spend $$$ trying to get them).
Is Voter ID necessary? Absolutely NO. GOP says “Voter Fraud” and “Voter Integrity”. There is NO Missouri in person voter fraud and integrity in MY book is not denying citizens the right to vote —just so you can attempt to win elections. AND the Missouri Supreme Court in 2006 referred to Voter ID laws as “a poll tax”.
Rev. Dr. Cassandra Gould, E.D. of Missouri Faith Voices (my friend & constituent) said Sunday at a press event announcing “Freedom Summer ’16”, a voter rights coalition campaign to oppose Voter ID & educate voters:
When we know which ballot Voter ID is on, we will need YOU to help us defeat this ugly voter suppression. Stay tuned.
WAIT….NOT EVERYTHING HORRIBLE WAS SUCCESSFUL
* Legalizing discrimination against LGBT Missourians?
NOPE, SJR39 failed, down the tubes in a House committee. We danced in our offices, yelling with joy after Rep. Jim Hansen (R-Frankford) tearfully cast the deciding vote in opposition. He said in a passionate speech in the hearing that his religion would not allow him to judge others, including his own family members who would be discriminated against. THIS WAS HUGE – WE COULD HAVE BECOME THE NEXT NORTH CAROLINA.
* Cells are People?
NOPE, HJR98 by Rep. Mike Moon, which would grant personhood to developing cells, died in the Senate. This very dangerous proposal would outlaw some forms of birth control and put infertility clinics in our state out of business. No, No, No.
* Paycheck Deception?
NOPE, HB1891, designed to weaken labor unions including teachers, nurses & caregivers, was stopped by a bipartisan vote in the Senate. Finally.
But never fear! We won’t give up, won’t back down and won’t allow bullies in the legislature to threaten us.
Missouri women made their voices heard. Patient privacy as well as access to reproductive care won out!
YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO RELAX NOW? HEARD OF THIS MAN?
The legislative session is in the rearview mirror but we have another giant mind-boggling fight looming. Donald Trump, yessiree. You want HIM as our next president??? WATCH THIS.
They are counting on women to be un-informed. HAH!
I am going to pound on you the importance of showing up to vote in August & November. No more laziness, no more saying “my vote doesn’t count”, no more excuses. We know who you are. Enough allowing these nuts to be elected without your vote to the state legislature…. and now the White House.
I can’t keep fighting for you in Missouri against these nonsense women attacks…. if you don’t do your part.
Stay tuned! There will be much more…
THINGS YOU MUST DO RIGHT NOW:
1. Make sure you (AND your best girlfriend, your mom, your daughter, your book club, your yoga comrades) are registered to vote in Missouri. You go to school here? You live here temporarily? Then Missouri needs your vote. Check out IMMEDIATELY if you are registered at the address where you’re living – HERE. We are going to be checking on you.
REGISTRATION DEADLINES: July 6th to vote in Missouri’s Primary Election on Aug 2nd & Oct 12th in General/Presidential Election on Nov 8th.
3. Forward this email to every progressive friend you have in Missouri —including on Facebook and Twitter.
You have friends, we know you do. This must be a collective effort because THEY think we’re not paying attention. The stakes for us are high.
Who is PROGRESSWOMEN again?
ProgressWomen began as a project December 2014 through my loffice after women kept asking “What can I do to get involved?” We are now a collective of over 2500 women statewide (and growing) who are sick and tired of the attacks on women & families in Missouri. Check us out online. Open up your address book & refer to us every progressive woman you know. And please follow us on Twitter @ProgressWomenUs & friend us on Facebook @ProgressWomen16
“It’s going to take a village”. You in?