June 5 Special Election to Fill Clay County Senate Seat
Missouri House and Senate Pass a Flurry of Bills
Governor Greitens’ Office Remains Busy
The National Gun Debate Hits the Missouri Legislature
Two weeks after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Missouri lawmakers did the unthinkable: they approved several gun laws that actually increase the presence of guns across every Missouri community. The tally includes four (4) awful bills, one (1) acceptable bill, and two (2) that receive a consolation prize for effort.
First: The Ugliest:
HB 1936: “Guns Everywhere Bill” takes away local control over who can carry a gun and where they can carry it. Allows citizens to carry hidden, loaded handguns on campuses, schools, daycares, and bars. (Sponsored by Spencer Taylor, R-139)
HB 1937: Also sponsored by Taylor, prohibits political subdivisions from regulating open carry of firearms.
HB 1865: Allows gun owners to transport firearms or store them in locked, privately owned motor vehicles. This means a gun owner may bring their gun to work, shopping, etc., no matter what the property owner’s or employer’s policy is about guns. Under current law, all firearms, in either open carry or concealed carry, have to be on the person. (Sponsor: Justin Hill R-108)
HB 1256: Imposes restrictions on the use of firearm tracking technology, making it unlawful to use centralized information to locate or control the use of a firearm.
The Not so Bad:
HB 1326: Authorizes tax deductions for costs of firearm safety training. (Sponsor: Steven Roberts D-77)
Representative Peter Meredith (D-St. Louis) introduced HB 1733 to reverse the 2016 law allowing concealed carry without a permit and enhance the definition of Stand Your Ground.
HB 1342: prohibits selling, delivering or transferring ammunition or accessories to anyone under 18 years old.
HB 2281: requires background checks on all gun sales or transfers.
Please call your representative(s) and urge them to vote against the ugliest bills and support the safer alternatives described above. You can reach them at: 573-217-4023. You’ll be glad you did.
Greitens’ Not So Great Week
Governor Greitens’ week included a courtroom showdown during which the circuit court attorney admitted not having the incriminating photograph at the center of the investigation into his extra-marital affair. The Missouri House opened its own investigation into the affair by selecting a panel of lawmakers to conduct an investigation.
New Age Limit to Try Juveniles Passes Senate
The Missouri Senate passed legislation to increase the age to try juveniles from 17 to 18 years old.
GOP Plans to Move Right to Work Vote
St. Louis Grand Jury Indicts Governor Greitens on Felony Invasion of Privacy
· Thursday afternoon, local deputies escorted Greitens from the courthouse to the St. Louis Justice Center, where he was booked on the Class D felony count.
· The indictment means that the Grand Jury found probable cause to believe the Governor photographed a fully or partially nude woman without her knowledge and consent. The charge also states Greitens transmitted the image in a way that allows access to the image via a computer.
· While the Missouri GOP issued statements supporting Greitens’s innocence, House leaders announced they’re launching their own investigation into the charges. If the House finds them credible, impeachment proceedings could follow.
· Greitens’s attorney, Edward Dowd Jr. (of Dowd Bennett), decried the indictment as a politically motivated attack, insisting the governor has not committed a crime. This week, Dowd Bennett added a former circuit judge to Greitens’s defense team and hired a GOP lobbyist to represent them in Jefferson City.
· The aftermath of Greitens’ affair has clouded the Capitol since January, raising further questions about the governor’s ability to work with state lawmakers, who likely resent his campaign pledge to reform Missouri politics. Rep. Gina Mitten, (D-St. Louis), stated “The whole situation is very sad,… There’s nothing joyous in any of this."
National Issues At Play in Missouri
From gun control to the #MeToo movement, these and other timely topics filled this week’s Missouri news.
Higher Education and CHIP Funding
House budget chairman Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick plans to use funds set aside in 2016 for the CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) program to restore some of the $68 million cuts for higher education recommended in Governor Greitens’s proposed 2019 budget.
Two committees in the Missouri House approved HB 1558, the so-called Revenge Porn bill, that would make sharing “nonconsensual private sexual images” a Class D felony. Rep. Jim Neely (R-Cameron/Lawson), the bill’s sponsor, added an amendment outlawing threats to distribute such images. Current privacy law makes taking this type of a photo a misdemeanor.
· Internet service providers are not automatically liable for images unknowingly shared on their networks or servers.
· The House must vote again on the bill before sending it to the Senate.
· Lawmakers noted the issues addressed in this bill are not applicable to the case pending against Gov. Greitens.
· Nationally, 38 states and the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation.
House Votes to Raise Minimum Marriage Age Despite Opposition
In a 95 - 50 vote, the Missouri House approved Rep. Jean Evans’ HB 1630, to raise the minimum age for marriage to 17 years old. The previous minimum age was 15 years old. Considered an attempt to protect teens from sex trafficking, the new law also prohibits marriage between a minor and an adult over the age of 21.
· Opponents of the legislation view it as unwanted government overreach and said it “plainly usurps parental rights.”
· Evans and others countered with reasons to support the legislation. Rep. Judy Morgan gave an example of a pregnant 15-year-old girl from Idaho brought to Missouri by her father to marry her convicted rapist. Evan cited the popularity of minor marriage licenses issued in Missouri to people from out-of-state.
And In “Better News” OR: And For Some Levity:
Chillicothe (population 9,500) received additional notoriety for its “Home of Sliced Bread” claim to fame. The Missouri House passed a bill Wednesday making July 7 “Missouri Sliced Bread Day.”
· Sponsored by Rep. Rusty Black, the bill recognizes the town’s stake in a store staple, sliced bread.
· The first bags of sliced bread were sold on July 7, 1928, at Marion Bench’s local bakery. Bench used Iowa inventor Otto Frederick Rohwedder’s bread slicer to package his new baked goods. And, the rest, as they say, was history.
· For more details on the historic significance of Chillicothe and Rohwedder’s invention, see www.daily-journal.com/news/nation/home-of-sliced-bread/article_5895caa0-d7be-596e-a120-bbaa15dad029.html.
Greitens’ Criminal Investigation Widens
At least 24 Missouri lawmakers spoke with investigators about Greitens’ extra-marital affair. Specifically, lawmakers spoke about how and when Greitens communicated with them about the incident and the governor’s alleged blackmail attempts.
Senate Tax Plan Advances over Greitens’ Reform Proposal
Other News: Medical Marijuana and pro-Right-to-Work Petitioners
The measure could confuse voters and undermine union efforts.
Missouri Budget Priorities Neglect Bread and Butter Issues
Governor Greitens’s proposed FY 2019 budget was scrutinized by lawmakers and State Auditor Nicole Galloway this week. Galloway warns against following in Kansas’ footsteps, while lawmakers, even those who favor more tax cuts, are hesitant to accept the governor’s plan amid ongoing controversy over his extra-marital affair and clashes with legislators.
Greitens Rolls Out His Budget in Riverside, Mo.
Missouri Senators vs. Greitens’ State Appointees
Greitens’ proposed budget cuts higher education and targets Medicaid
Higher education faces a drastic 10.8 percent cut, totaling $98 million.
Earned Paid Family Leave Bill Withdrawn
Four GOP lawmakers call for Governor Greitens to resign amidst extra-marital affair fallout
Missouri Ethics Reform
Governor Greitens Admits Extra-Marital Affair; Denies Blackmail
2018 Missouri Legislature Session Promises Continued Infighting
Republican Senator Ryan Silvey of Kansas City nominated to Missouri’s Public Service Commission
Greitens Shutters Board of Education in attempt to win appointees’ approval