Monthly Archives: March 2018
Kansas City Chairs Evelyn Maddox and Donna Hoch and their team organized a lovely and informative conference on May 5. LWVMO President Kathleen Boswell presented the Rachel Farr Fitch Award to Chris Stewart from Katy Trail Health in Sedalia. The keynote speaker was retired Brigadier General Christopher King, Ph.D., who shared why climate change is a national security issue. A luncheon panel focused on gun violence. Attorney Jean Maneke gave an update on the Missouri Sunshine Law and Anatolij Gelimson shared features of fastdemocracy.com, a free bill tracking service. Attendees could chose from three breakout Sessions: Fundraising, League Basics for Everyone or Useful Technology. The day included a raffle and a showcase for merchandise that LWVMO will sell at the national convention in Chicago.
Minimum Wage Position Approved
At the May 4 meeting, the State Board accepted as the LWVMO position a St. Louis study group’s recommendations to support raising the minimum wage to advance self-sufficiency for individuals and families.
Seven of the eight local League of Women Voters are supporting Raise Up Missouri’s initiative that is expected to be on the ballot in November, It would raise Missouri’s minimum wage to 8.60 in 2019, $9.45 in 2020, $10.30 in 2021, $11.15 in 2022, and $12 an hour in 2023. This increase is estimated to positively affect 23 percent of Missouri’s population.
League Wins Redistricting Advocacy Grant
LWVMO just learned it is receiving a grant from the LWVUS Ed Fund to educate voters about the need to have a better system of redistricting to ensure fairness after each U.S. Census.
Sydell Shayer, Linda McDaniel and other Missouri League members have studied the apportionment of Missouri election districts since the early 1960s. As stated in the grant application, “We have a unique opportunity in Missouri to stop political and racial gerrymandering and achieve more representative democracy.” The state League plans a statewide campaign to advocate for Section 3 of the CLEAN Missouri Initiative which is expected to be on the November ballot. It says a paid professional demographer should establish districts on the basis of total population and “take into account the rights of racial and language minorities and design districts to achieve both partisan fairness and competitiveness.”
The last week of the legislative session, Nancy Miller testified in Jefferson City against HJR100, a bill that would have undermined CLEAN MO’s redistricting changes. She stressed the LWV position that political and racial gerrymandering distorts and undermines representative democracy by allowing officials to select their voters rather than voters to elect their officials.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate standing in the case of Gill v. Whitford, a case which challenged the state of Wisconsin’s assembly map as an example of partisan gerrymandering. The court is sending this case back to the district court to give the plaintiffs a chance to demonstrate that they have suffered “concrete and particularized injuries.”
“Today’s decision is yet another delay in providing voters with the power they deserve in our democracy,” said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States. “Partisan gerrymandering is distorting and undermining our representative democracy, giving politicians the power to choose their voters, instead of giving voters the power to choose their politicians. We are disappointed that the Court failed to set a standard when it comes to partisan gerrymandering.”
The League filed an amicus brief in this case arguing that partisan gerrymandering violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Protect Clean Water
League positions support action that include the Clean Water and Agriculture Positions of the LWVUS. LWVUS Position on Water Resources: Support measures to reduce pollution in order to protect surface water, groundwater and drinking water.
The Safe Drinking Water Act in 1986 and the Clean Water Act of 1987 were important milestones in the League’s effort to ensure safe drinking water for all Americans and safeguards against nonpoint pollution.
League positions support action to oppose bills that threaten the Missouri 185,000 miles of rivers and 286,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs that are currently protected by the Missouri Clean Water Law and the US EPA. Missouri rivers and other bodies of water are used for drinking and to support local economies through fishing and recreation.
Legislation on Firearms
There are several bills under consideration in the Missouri Legislature related to guns.
One major bill – HB 1936 — THE CARRYING OF CONCEALED FIREARMS – was passed by the House Rules Committee on March 29, 2018. This is the bill summary provided by the State Legislature:
HB 1936 – This bill makes changes to the list of locations an individual can carry a concealed firearm within this state and the list of locations an individual with a concealed carry permit can carry a concealed firearm within the state. This bill also prohibits the state, political subdivisions, and public institutions of higher learning from imposing any policies or contractual requirements that would have the effect of prohibiting employees or students from the carrying of concealed firearms into locations where concealed carry is not otherwise prohibited by law. No changes have been made to the penalties for carrying a concealed firearm in locations prohibited under these sections.
From an editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 28, 2018:
If this becomes a law, it would ease current restrictions against carrying concealed firearms into bars, churches, day-care centers and casinos. Those rights would extend to the campuses of public colleges and universities if the institution’s governing board agrees. The bill would remove prohibitions against carrying weapons into amusement parks, possibly including the St. Louis Zoo. Private businesses could still set firearms restrictions on their own premises, but other public facilities like hospitals might not. It removes restrictions against carrying concealed weapons on to buses.
You may want to contact your state representative in regard to this. A list of state representatives is at this link:
FYI: The policy statement summary on gun control of LWVUS is:
“Protect the health and safety of citizens through limiting the accessibility and regulating the ownership of handguns and semi-automatic weapons. Support regulation of firearms for consumer safety.”
Here are some other House bills related to guns under consideration.
You can click on the link below to get to state information about the various proposed legislation:
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
HB2081 – Rep. Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis) – Restricting ammunition sales to minors (mirroring federal law).