2016 Session Begins – Guns & Abortion, etc.
Missouri legislature begins again in 3 days on January 6th promptly at Noon. Ready?
We have been notified that we will be fast tracking a bill in the next 2 weeks but have absolutely no idea what it is. GOP leadership won’t tell us.
According to bills pre-filed, it’s clear that attacking abortion providers and Planned Parenthood, allowing guns on campus & making them tax-exempt and taking away voter rights (10th straight year of Voter ID proposals) is the leadership’s priority.
The media reports constandly on our lack of ethic requirements in the Capital (unlimited campaign contributions, unlimited lobbyist gifts & no rules on lawmakers becoming lobbyists) but I guarantee a bill addressing this will NOT make it to the Governor’s desk. Why? There’s no will by the leadership to change a system that many find profitable.
However we are required now to attend a 30 minute sexual harassment training by McMahon Berger law firm, which represents companies who have had claims of sexual harassment and discrimination. After two highly publicized intern harassment scandals last session, one resulting in the resignation of former Speaker John Diehl along with the media coverage of ongoing sexual harassment in the Capitol, the training is a recommended tool. Hopefully the message will be simply, “don’t do it”.
For those of you who are not sure who represents you in the MO Legislature – FIND OUT HERE. It’s imperative this session that you know who is standing up for you or… not.
This is presidential election season with many statewide offices on the ballot along with every single House member. Make sure you’re registered to vote where you live – check HERE.
We need you to be engaged, involved and closely paying attention.
Out of sheer frustration, I pre-filed HB1397 on December 1st, which would require firearm purchasers to undergo similiar restrictions as accessing an abortion in Missouri. Cosmopolitan Magazine asked me recently to write an op-ed on why I proposed a bill which would require gun buyers to visit a doctor – HERE.
Since December 1st, I’ve heard from almost 1000 people in 45 states who are as mad as I am about the lack of action on gun violence from Congress & most state legislatures.
The New York Times recently profiled Missouri’s increasing gun violence rate: In Missouri, Fewer Gun Restrictions and More Gun Killings. St. Louis & Kansas City mayors, police chiefs and prosecutors keep asking for help for “slow motion mass murder”, as KC Mayor Sly James calls it. St. Louis City ended 2015 with a record number of gun violence deaths including over 180 homicides, as tracked by STLPD Chief Sam Dotson. There is currently NO
ability to accurately track every gun death in Missouri – including those from domestic violence, accidental shootings of children and suicides.
We ended 2015 with more mass shootings in the U.S. (with 4 fatalities or more) than days of the year – a total of 372, killing 475 and wounding 1870.
So far in 2016? Check out the box at left from www.GunViolenceArchive.org.
Monday January 4th President Obama is scheduled to meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to finalize a series of executive orders on fireams to be announced as early as this week, including anticipated expanded federal background checks.
On January 7th, CNN is hosting a hour long town hall on guns with President Obama. I will be watching and hope you will too.
We know that 90% of Americans & 80% of Missourians want the background check loophole closed at gun shows and online. Those include NRA members and gun owners. The majority of us want to restrict guns from convicted felons, domestic abusers and those on the federal no-fly list. We want negligent “accidental” firearm deaths of children to be prosecuted. We, including college administrators, do NOT want guns on our college campuses.
My additional firearm bills pre-filed (others coming shortly):
HB1595 – Allows law enforcement, family members to obtain temporary gun violence restraining orders for known armed dangerous persons
HB1596 – Universal background checks, including via internet, gun shows & private sales
We KNOW that More Guns is Not the Answer
Missouri GOP’s reaction:
HB1468 by Rep. Eric Burlison (Springfield) – allow concealed weapons anywhere
HB1746 by Rep. Rick Brattin (Harrisonville) – tax exception for firearms & ammunition
HB1819 by Rep. Joe Don McGaugh (Carrollton) – expands legal use of deadly force (“shoot to kill”)
HB1899 by Rep. Jered Taylor(Nixa) – allow concealed weapons on college campuses
HB1901 by Rep. Jered Taylor (Nixa) – sales tax holiday for firearms
HB1910 by Rep. Mike Kelley (Lamar) – allow concealed weapons on college campuses
HB1938 by Rep Ron Hicks (St. Peters) – allow concealed weapons on public transportation
SB589 by Sen. Bob Dixon (Springfield) – allow concealed weapons on college campuses
SB731 by Sen. Brian Munzlinger (Williamstown) – allow concealed weapons on college campuses
SB782 by Sen. Bob Onder (Lake St. Louis) – allow concealed weapons on public transportation
We Want Action.
Not “More Prayers” and More Pandering to the Gun Lobby.
*******WHAT YOU CAN DO*******
You can do what cabaret singer Katie McGrath did last night in St. Louis.
Gather your musician friends and supporters for a Free Concert for Change in our Gun Laws. Inspired by my gun purchasing bill, she produced a “Standing Room Only” concert of cabaret singers & musicians at the Tavern of Fine Arts and tracked me down online to kick it off. We urged everyone to get engaged with their elected officials (they will!) and collected donations for the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence. Katie reached out and inspired friends of friends to get involved. I also made a ton of new best friends who have promised not to remain silent.
You can do what Clayton Mayor Harold Sanger did in his recent community newsletter to every resident.
Mayor Sanger, a member of the national Mayors Against Illegal Guns, did what he could do as a mayor, parent &
grandparent to remind residents the danger of having a gun in the home.
He went a step further and notified residents of the Clayton Police Dept. “GUN SURRENDER” program and trigger locks available free of charge.
I live in Richmond Heights but I award Clayton Mayor Sanger my “Favorite Mayor of the Month” award.
Other mayors & local electeds? Feel free to step it up.
NEED MORE SUGGESTIONS?
1) Email or call your state representative & state senator in Jefferson City and tell them you want a universal background check bill. As session kicks off, make them tell you where they stand. (Contact information HERE.)
2) Email or call Speaker Todd Richardson: Todd.Richardson@house.mo.gov – 573.751.4039 and tell him you want a background check bill hearing. Demand that his office tell you his stance.
3) Then please let my office know of your responses – Stacey.Newman@house.mo.gov or 573.751.0100.
Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) who chairs the new “Sanctity of Life” Committee created to investigate Planned Parenthood and is also a 2016 candidate for Attorney General has vowed to continue his witchhunt.
Sen. Schaefer also happens to be the Senate Appropriations Chair and has the distinction of being named the “Scariest Person in Missouri Government” by the Kansas City Star.
His direct investigation this past summer and fall contributed to the resignation of the University of Missouri System President and Mizzou’s Chancellor after Planned Parenthood’s Columbia abortion provider was denied hospital admitting privileges and the attempted loss of the mid-Missouri clinic’s license. Those actions led to a federal lawsuit against the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).
However last week U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughery blocked the state from revoking Planned Parenthood of Kansas & mid-Missouri clinic’s license. Her order stated that Missouri violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and said:
“The evidence submitted to the Court indicates that DHSS’s unprecedented hasty actions were likely the result of political pressure by Missouri legislators and the Department’s perception that if it did not act accordingly with the legislator’s desires, its budget would be cut.”
“The record also reflects that “Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (PPKM) was treated disparately as a result of animus toward PPKM”.
Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services now has until May 1, 2016 to permanently resolve the case.
“Let this victory show, political games do not pass muster. We will continue to do everything we can to place a physician in our Columbia health center and provide abortions there.” – Laura McQuade, PPKM President and CEO, on the court order.
Sen. Schaefer wants contempt proceedings brought against Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Dr. James Miller of Pathology Services, Inc. who declined to testify earlier before the Senate Sanctity of Life Committee. He has also vowed his interim committe will continue to meet during regular session even though no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood has been found by MO Attorney General Chris Koster.
Missouri GOP’s reaction:
HB1370 – by Rep. Rocky Miller (Lake Ozark) – requires two parent notification for a minor seeking an abortion
HB1714 – by Rep. Tila Hubrecht (Dexter) – “The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act”
HB1815 – by Rep. Andrew Koenig (Manchester)- Banning Abortion for Gender Seleciton and Genetic Abnormality
SB644 – by Sen. Bob Onder (Lake St. Louis) – forbids tissue donation from abortions, requires all abortion tissue to be sent to a pathologist, an abortion provider must have surgical and admitting privileges in addition to clinical privileges and annual unannounced inspections specifically for abortion facilities
Investigative Committee in the House:
Not to be outdone, the Children & Families Committee on which I serve has scheduled a hearing right away on Tuesday, January 12 at Noon to hear from the acting director of DHSS, Peter Lyskowski. No bills are yet assigned to this commmittee.
The official committee notice states: “The Comitttee plans to also hear about former, current and future changes to policies regarding abortions and abortion facilities.”
So Chair Diane Franklin (R- Camdenton) wants to waste legislative time learning all about abortions. I will suggest members simply visit an OB-GYN or a Planned Parenthood clinic. And brush up on statutes at their leisure.
The Next Generation
I was honored to be part of TASH, (Teen Advocates for Sexual Health) which is under the umbrella of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. They held their annual training of high schoolers from all across the region several weeks ago and I was IMPRESSED. They are engaged, passionate and determined to make medically accurate sexual education a reality for every young teen in the state.
Thank you longtime TASH program coordinator Judy Lipsitz (16 years!) for including me AND sending the incredible thank you letters from all the students.
I wish I had been as savvy and smart as these young adults are today.
“Lagniappe” was my favorite French Creole word when I lived in Louisiana years ago. It means “extra” or “for good measure”—like receiving 13 oysters when buying a dozen.
So just when did Syrian refugees in Missouri become a threat? I feel very strongly about attacks on immigrants and will be speaking out loudly if any of this makes it to the House floor.
House Speaker Pro Tem Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) re 2016 session:
You know the phrase, “It Takes a Village”.
It’s going to take all of us to advance policies that actually benefit people and fight back against those that are hurtful. Contact your electeds, use social media & personal networks and write to your newspapers. Speak up.
2016 regular session begins on Wednesday, January 6, 2016. Normally we gavel in at 4pm on Mondays and adjourn Thursday afternoons. Wish us luck!
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