Last Week Was Some Tough Days

I was taught better grammar in grade school but that’s exactly what my mind was thinking.

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It all began with the students – high school students throughout St. Louis County angry, scared and determined to be heard.

Friday February 23rd, students at Clayton High School and Parkway Central High School held press events, demanding legislative action to keep them safe at school, at work, at home – everywhere.  Echoing the kids at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I was honored to stand with them while they were eloquent and forceful.

They received excellent media coverage —-I was so proud to be a adult supporter helping behind the scenes.

Never doubt an enormous group of students making us see how we have failed them.

This Washington Post editorial sums it up —HERE.

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Monday, February 26th the House passed HB1383, requiring two parent notification for a minors abortion. 

Even though this is a pro-child abuse bill which puts pregnant minors in grave danger of having to notify both custodial parents and is opposed by every credible national medical organization, it still passed by a vote of 113-37 (including Democrats: Conway, Harris Revis, Rowland & Runions).

Several of us female Democrats argued against it passionately but we were hit with a stone wall. It still baffles me that Democrats and Republicans ignored the medical community’s stance and voted to legalize child abuse, particularly in the face of the national #MeToo movement.

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Also on Monday, the General Laws Committee heard public testimony on firearm bills –some common sense ones, some really horrible.  Because of the large number of witnesses, the standing-room-only hearing resumed upon adjournment of the afternoon regular session:

HB1256 – Rep. Nick Shroer (R-O’Fallon) – Restricting use of firearm tracking technology

HB1865 – Rep. Hill (R-Lake St. Louis) – Allows guns in cars

HB1936 – Rep. Jered Taylor (R-Nixa) – Allows “Guns Everywhere” (churches, day cares, colleges, etc)

HB1937 – Rep. Jered Taylor (R-Nixa) – Prohibits municipalities from regulating open carry of firearms

HB1326 – Rep. Steven Roberts (D-St. Louis City) – Tax deduction for firearm training

HB 1733 – Rep. Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis City) – Repeals Stand Your Ground & Open Carry laws

HB2281 – Rep. Greg Razer (D-Kansas City) – Background checks for all gun sales

And even mine, HB2081 – Restricting ammunition sales to minors (mirroring federal law).

Kansas City reporter Abby Eden, FOX4KC testified about her feature story several years ago on licensed gun dealers in the Kansas City area illegally selling ammunition to a 16 year old.  Her producer contacted me after the story aired asking if I would be interested in introducing leigslation. I have filed this bill since 2016 which would hold dealers responsible at the state level (exactly mirroring federal law)- and was grateful to finally receive a hearing.

Seems like a no-brainer idea, right?

The FOX4KC-TV story of the hearing – HERE.

Make sure you watch the eerie timeless statement by the 16 year old at the end.

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Tuesday, February 27th the House passed HB1288, “the Champion for Children Tax Credit”, modifying and extending task credits for specific entities.  The bill gives fake pregnancy centers, aka “crisis pregnancy centers”, $3.5M in tax credits but does not mandate they employ medical staff, follow any medical regulations or even operate as a medical clinic.  They routinely prey on poor pregnant women, usually teens, by diagnosing pregnancies without giving medically accurate information or options.

We same female Democrats pointed out the dangers of these fake centers that were included with several worthy nonprofits.  But how can one justify in any way purposely hurting pregnant women with millions of state tax dollars?

The bill passed by a vote of 121-27 (including Democrats: Baringer, Burns, Conway, Harris, Revis, Roberts, Runions & Wessels).  Many left the chamber during the debate and roll call so were not present.

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Tuesday afternoon the General Laws committee met to consider the gun bills they heard the previous day.  Normally committees take a week to allow for amendments to be drafted and questions answered before going into Executive Session to vote on legislation.

Predictably, the three bills by Reps Merideth, Razer & myself were defeated by a party-line vote of 4-8.  But there were shenanigans.  Rep. Merideth offered an amendment deleting transfers in my bill, HB2081, which seemed was the committee’s main objection.  Nope.  It failed. They BELIEVE that minors should be able to purchase ammunition.

And predictably but very troubling, the gun bills that LOOSEN state gun laws and make firearms more available almost everywhere, passed out of committee, again strictly on party-line votes.

AND THERE’S MORE.

Tuesday evening in my Children & Families Committee we heard HB1856 by Rep. Curtis Trent (R-Springfield) which adds a 20 hrs per week work requirement for those to continue receiving MO HealthNet benefits.  The kicker?  By doing so, it would completely price one out of eligibility for healthcare access.

His motive?  Poor people should have a work ethic.

And then we heard HB2362 by committee Chair Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton) removing people from federal SNAP food stamp assistance if they’re behind in child support. If one can’t afford child support payments, she believes that restricting federal aid is necessary.  If you can’t afford child support, she believes you don’t need food assistance.

Two bills heard back to back designed to punish poor people. 

Both will easily pass the House.

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AND EVEN MORE.

The very last bill of last week on the floor was a resolution detailing the rules of the special investigatory committee of the governor, HR5565.  Referred to as the “Special Investigative Committee on Oversight”, the discussion and vote is the very first step in the lengthy process leading to potential impeachment of Governor Greitens.

The committee has 40 days to conduct an investigation by issuing subpoenas, producing documents and compelling attendance of witnesses: Chair Jay Barnes (R), Vice Chair Don Phillips (R), Ranking Minority Member Gina Mitten (D) and Reps. Kevin Austin (R), Jeanie Laurer (R), Tommie Pierson (D) and Shawn Rhodes (R).

Never before has a sitting Missouri governor faced a felony charge.

A fitting end to the week.

A vote on a resolution I would have never predicted to come in my final and 9th year in the State House.

154-0. Unanimous.  The historic process has begun.

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