DAY TEN: 2nd Extraordinary Special Session on Abortion

Like something out of a bizarre science fiction movie or from one of those other far-right red states, Governor Greitens has the legislature tied up in his 2nd Special Extraordinary Session of the summer, this one called specifically for “Abortion”.

Estimated to cost you the taxpayer $20,000 per day, I’m sure you’re pleased to know that so far we are in Day TEN with no end in sight.

Gov. Greitens’s special extraordinary session call HERE instructs us to address the same reproductive bills that did not make it to his desk in the 4.5 months of the regular 2017 session.  Remember – the legislature is controlled by a GOP super majority, the same party as the Governor.

Fiscal conservativism???  Particularly after we cut so many programs in the 2018 fiscal year budget affecting the elderly, disabled, higher education?

On top of that, today the Governor vetoed HCR 19, which would have partially financed the construction of an Arts Conservatory in downtown Kansas City on the UMKC campus.  With already $48 million in private funding raised for its construction and heavily supported by the Kansas City business and academic community, HCR 19 passed the House by a vote of 117-39 and the Senate by a vote of 28-4.

His first sentence of his HCR19 Veto Letter that he initially posted on Facebook:

“Politicians are addicted to spending your money.”

Isn’t this blatant hypocrisy? Inept governance? What would you call it? 

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I CALLED THE GOVERNOR OUT

I am proud to call myself a Reform Jew. Governor Greitens campaigned on his faith and in February when he spoke at the Chased Shel Emeth Cemetary after the devasting desecration, he mentioned his strong connection to Reform Judaism.

With his extreme expensive unnecessary Special Session on Abortion, I could no longer remain quiet.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the St. Louis Jewish Light published my op-ed recently.  An excerpt:

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SO YOU CAN FOLLOW ALONG @ $20K PER DAY:

1.  June 27, 2016 – U.S. Supreme Court landmark ruling of Whole Women’s Health v Hellerstedt, by a vote of 5-3. struck down targeted regulations of abortion providers (TRAP laws).  They said:

“Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the federal Constitution.”

2.  February, 2017 – St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay signed into law an ordinance prohibiting discrimination of pregnancy and reproductive health decisions in employment and housing.  The ordinance carved out exemptions for religious organizations and entities.  I sponsored a similar bill the past two sessions (HB376 in 2017).

3.  April, 2017 – U.S. District Court Judge Sachs granted a preliminary injunction against Missouri’s TRAP laws requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges and requiring health clinics to have hospital-grade facilities (as ruled in Whole Women’s Health v Hellerstedt).

4.  May 13, 2017 – Regular Legislative Session concluded.  No anti-abortion bill passed to the Governor’s desk, including any bill attempting to repeal the city ordinance.

5.  May 25, 2017 – Sen. Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis) was upset that his abortion bill did not pass (St. Louis Post-Dispatch op-ed HERE)  and demanded the governor take immediate action.

6.  June 12, 2017 – Governor Greitens calls a 2nd Special Extraordinary Session, this one specifically to address Judge Sachs ruling and the St. Louis ordinance. I filed three bills giving women more access to reproductive health care.  I can dream, right? DAY ONE

7.  June 13, 2017 – A Senate committee heard several bills in a 5.5 hour hearing  on abortion. DAY TWO

8.  June 13, 2017 – Rep. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) posts a Facebook video of himself slaughtering a live chicken, relating it to the special session.  The story went national – Washington Post HERE.

9. June 14, 2017 – The House had a 7 hour nonstop hearing in my Children & Families Committee of several House bills with in a standing-room-only hearing room of those in opposition (only several pro-life lobbyists spoke in favor). Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) said his bill was a “legislative response to the Supreme Court ruling and injunction.”

Dr. Marta Perez testifying on the medically dangerous consequences of House bills.

At the same time the “People’s Session” was held in the Capitol rotunda, followed by a pro-life rally led by Governor Greitens. Pro-women’s advocates also visited the Governor’s office and left behind messages.

That same day the Senate postponed their 9am scheduled floor debate and negotiated their bill until midnight when they finally passed SB5 (sponsored by a different senator, not Sen. Onder) in five minutes without any debate.  Are you sensing any drama yet? DAY THREE

NOTE:  The House & Senate hold intermittent technical sessions to advance legislation and for who knows really why.  These still allow legislators to receive a per diem and require staff to be present.

10. June 19, 2017 – Back to the House.  The Children & Families Committee meets again to hear SB5, amending it with their own House bills. A chicken showed up. DAY FIVE

Waiting to testify – Anna Shabsin, attorney & Washington University professor, Dr. Rachel Zigler and Dr. Colleen McNicholas, both with Barnes-Jewish Hospital – and a chicken in the back row.

11. June 20, 2017 – House 5 hour debate on the House substitute of SB5, adding more amendments.  Rep. Mike Moon offered his abortion ban amendment which failed.  SB5, further changed, passed the House.  Rep. Mike Moon was the only GOP who voted no.

LISTEN TO MY FLOOR SPEECH HERE.

SB5 now contains more targeted regulations of abortion providers which makes abortion access even more burdensome including: mandated fetal cell tissue collection and abortion tracking reports all the way to the General Assembly, new designations for “abortion facilities” in an attempt to circumvent the rulings and giving the Attorney General new jurisdiction to prosecute “abortion crimes”. DAY SIX

St. Louis area faith leaders issued their video response to the Special Session:

Rev. Deborah Kraus, Rabbi Andrea Goldstein, Rev. Karen Anderson, Rabbi Susan Talve and Rev. Traci Blackmon. “What it Really Means to be Pro-Life Missouri.”

12. June 27, 2017 – Senate gaveled up and then down. No action.  DAY NINE

13.  July 6, 2017 – Senate scheduled to reconvene.  Maybe.  Rumors are they may not take action until the week of July 20th when they hope to accumulate enough Senators to have a quorum to meet. DAY ELEVEN

14.  Regardless what form SB5 takes, it is expected to go straight to litigation based on the Whole Women’s Health v Hellerstedt ruling.  Add in costs of the Attorney General to defend the law and costs to reimburse attorneys who will be successful in opposing the law based on the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision.

I expect this list to continue to grow at your expense.  You do the math.

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MISSOURI PARTICIPATES IN NATIONAL “PINK OUT THE NIGHT”

I was proud to speak at the St. Louis rally June 21st and be part of the 200 who came to “Stand with Planned Parenthood”. Similar rallies were held in Columbia, Kansas City and Springfield. The majority of Missourians care about access to reproductive health, including constitutionally protected abortion, regardless of what the Governor and the GOP legislature think.

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THIS WEEK IN MISSOURI POLITICS

M’evie Mead with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri, myself, the host Scott Faughn, Rep. Diane Franklin and Rep. Jean Evans.

To round out the past two weeks, Rep. Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton & Chair of the Children & Families Committee), Rep. Jean Evans (R-Ballwin) and myself joined M’evie Mead with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri on a panel discussing the Extraordinary Session on Abortion.  CEO Mary Kogut of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri was featured first.

The show aired this past Sunday on ABC in St. Louis and in other media markets throughout the state. I urge you to listen carefully to Rep. Franklin’s desire to focus on expanding women’s health access —as she works to decrease it.

WATCH IT HERE.

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