Category Archives: Uncategorized

70 Attend Spring Conference

Kathleen and Katy Trail Health  KC Presidents  Marge at wares table
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.

Clean Water

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.

 

Firearms Legislation

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:

https://www.house.mo.gov/MemberRoster.aspx

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:
https://www.house.mo.gov/LegislationSP.aspx

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).

Energy Issues

From LWV US:

Opportunity to Comment on Proposal to Allow Offshore Drilling

The Trump Administration’s plan to allow drilling along coasts of the United States (except Florida) will begin moving ahead this year, if not modified after the public comment period. This will take our country in the wrong direction in addressing climate change. There is still time, but not much, to submit comments on behalf of your League opposing the proposed policy shift. All concerned Leagues and members are urged to do so. The LWVUS Climate Change Task Force has developed some background and message points to consider when commenting. Public comment is being received through the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) website https://www.boem.gov/National-Program-Comment/ until 11:59 Eastern on March 9th.

Deadline Extended for Comments on Clean Power Plan Rollback

The EPA has extended the deadline to comment on the planned rollback of the Clean Power Plan. Interested parties now have until April 26, 2018, to submit comments regarding this misguided action. The proposed rollback will greatly weaken the requirements to curb GHG emissions, taking our nation in the wrong direction on a critically important issue. All concerned Leagues and members are urged to submit comments opposing the weakening of this pivotal US climate policy. Please review the talking points here:
http://forum.lwv.org/member-resources/article/opportunity-comment-clean-power-plan-rollback
and background information developed for this purpose. LWVUS submitted comments
https://www.lwv.org/environment/league-comments-proposed-repeal-epas-clean-power-plan
to the Environmental Protection Agency with regard to their plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

Equal Rights Amendment

The Equal Rights Amendment – Hearing Scheduled – February 20

Urgent Action Needed For Missouri
SCR 41 – Brand New Resolution Which Ratifies the ERA has been unexpectedly scheduled For Committee Hearing:

Committee Hearing Resolution: Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee
Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Time: Hearing Begins at 9:00am – Try to arrive at 8am
Address: Missouri State Senate, 201 W Capitol Ave. Room: Senate Lounge
Background about the Equal Rights Amendment:
The proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) states that the rights guaranteed by the Constitution apply equally to all persons regardless of their sex. After the 19th Amendment affirming women’s right to vote was ratified in 1920, suffragist leader Alice Paul introduced the ERA in 1923 as the next step in bringing “equal justice under law” to all citizens.
In 1972, the ERA was finally passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. The original seven-year time limit was extended by Congress to June 30, 1982, but at that deadline, the ERA had been ratified by only 35 states, three states short of the 38 required to put it into the Constitution. The ERA has been introduced into every Congress since the deadline, and beginning in 1994, ERA advocates have been pursuing two different routes to ratification: the traditional process described in Article V of the Constitution (passage by a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, followed by ratification by three-quarters of the states), and the innovative “three-state strategy” (ratification in three more of the 15 state legislatures that did not ratify the ERA in 1972-82, based on legal analysis that when three more states vote yes, this process could withstand legal challenge and accomplish ratification of the ERA).
The State of Nevada passed the ERA in March 2017! Only two more states are needed. Missouri could be among them!
Please consider attending the hearing on Tuesday, February 20 at 9:00 a.m.

Details are provided at this link:
https://www.ratifyera.org/urgent-action

 

Candidate Filing Closed

Candidate filing for state representatives and senators ended on March 27. Click here for detailed information on the candidates for the Aug. 7 primary:
https://www.sos.mo.gov.

Terminating the Kobach Commission on Elections

LWV Statement on the Shut-down of the ‘Election Integrity’ Commission
1/3/2018

Washington, DC – League of Women Voters president, Chris Carson issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s Executive Order terminating his ‘election integrity’ commission.

“Today voters win. We are pleased that the Trump Administration has at last dissolved their discredited ‘election integrity’ commission.

“As has been said time and time again, the purpose of this effort was to justify President Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 elections. This travesty of a commission was nothing more than a tactic of voter suppression and an unnecessary distraction from legitimate threats to our democracy.

“It is now time for our leaders to focus on the the very real work of securing our elections against foreign interference, while making sure all eligible voters are free to exercise their right to vote.”

 

 

Statement from LWVUS about National Background Check Database

Statement from national LWV

LWV Supports Legislation to Strengthen Reporting to National Background Check Database

11/21/2017

Following an unprecedented series of mass shootings throughout the country, a bipartisan group of Senators has come together to strengthen existing federal law. On November 16, 2017, Senators Chris Murphy (D CA) and John Cornyn (R TX) introduced the Fix NICS Act, legislation that will improve and enforce reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This legislation will make it easier to legally prevent individuals from buying a firearm if they have previous felonies, indictments and other crimes which include domestic assaults.

The legislation is a first step in the right direction to strengthen federal gun laws. It will have a meaningful impact on improving the background check system used by different agencies and levels of government across the country. If passed, this legislation will hold federal agencies responsible for sharing relevant data with the background check system. It will also compensate states to comply with implementation through federal grants and other incentives.

We believe that the proliferation of handguns and semi-automatic assault weapons in the United States is a major health and safety threat to its citizens. The League supports this legislation because it will invest in an existing structure that makes it possible for state and federal officials to share relevant criminal records with the NICS. Strong federal measures to limit the accessibility and regulate the ownership of firearms by private citizens is necessary for consumer safety.

LWVUS Statement on Health Care Subsidies

LWV Statement on Executive Order to End Health Care Subsidies
10/13/2017 | by Sarah Courtney

Washington, D.C. – League of Women Voters president Chris Carson issued the following statement in response to the White House executive order to end health care subsidies in the Affordable Care Act:

“President Trump’s executive order to end health care subsidies for insurance companies will raise premiums and leave more Americans without meaningful health insurance. These subsidies were put in place deliberately to keep costs down for everyday Americans. Removing them now is a dangerous step toward unraveling a fragile system.

“President Trump is attempting to dismantle the American health care system piece by piece, in the same dangerous and under-the-table manner that the American people made clear to their Congressional leaders is unacceptable.

“We have said many times that the Affordable Care Act is not a perfect law. Congress should work to improve it. The White House should not undo the positive impacts this legislation has had for millions of Americans who previously could not afford health care coverage.”

Contact: Sarah Courtney | 202-263-1332 | scourtney@lwv.org

 

 

Local Rallies in Kansas City & St. Louis

From LWV-US:

Local rallies to protect our right to vote:

On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, the Pence-Kobach sham election Commission will meet for the second time. This Commission has one goal in mind: laying the groundwork for voter suppression by purging eligible voters from the rolls.

Tell the sham Commission: Our democracy is about participation—not purges.

The morning of the meeting, activists will rally in Manchester, NH, Atlanta, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Phoenix. Leagues are encouraged to participate in and promote these rallies as they see fit.

Missouri- St. Louis: Press Rally!
When: Tuesday, September 12, 11am CST
Where: St. Louis History Museum (Civil Rights Exhibit)
Address: 5700 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO63112

Kansas/Missouri-Kansas City: Press Rally! 
When: Tuesday, September 12, 12pm CT
Where: Ilus Davis Park
Address: 1000 Locust St. Kansas City, MO 64106

Tell the sham Commission: We won’t let anything stop us from exercising our right to vote!