Proposed Laws in Missouri, Kansas Would Take Guns from Convicted Abusers, Stalkers

Rep. Stacey Newman.
Two state representatives from Missouri and Kansas are coming together across state and partisan lines to implement new anti-gun violence legislation.

The bills -- sponsored in Missouri by Richmond Heights Democrat Stacey Newman and in Kansas by Republican Barbara Bollier -- bolster current state laws by requiring people with stalking or domestic violence convictions to surrender their firearms, instead of just barring them from buying new ones.

"This is a way to save lives," Newman tells Daily RFT. "You can say (to convicted abusers), 'You can't own a gun,' but if there's already a cache in your house or you know this person already owns a gun, this takes it a step further."

More »

"It's Still Her Body": Anti-Abortion Lawmaker Defends Abortion Rights [VIDEO]

Progress Missouri via YouTube
"When my wife saw it, she was like, 'What?!' and I was like, 'Uh-oh.'"
They say behind every strong man is a strong woman. Let's just hope the woman behind Republican state representative Ron Hicks is strong enough to keep him from voting for a uniquely egregious anti-women's-health bill currently before the legislature.

Hicks, who represents St. Charles, brought up his wife's shocked reaction to House Bill 131 at a lobbyist-comped dinner "hearing" at the upscale, jackets-only Jefferson City Country Club. (Don't worry, lawmakers aren't allowed to do that anymore.)

The bill, sponsored by Republican Rick Brattin, says women should only have access to abortion services in Missouri if the father grants written permission, or if they can prove they were victims of "legitimate rape."

More »

Skirmish Erupts Between Police Supporters, Protesters During Hearing

Categories: Ferguson, Politics

via Ustream
Jeff Roorda, police union business manager, grabs Cachet Currie's arm as the scuffle begins.
A St. Louis city meeting about police oversight devolved into a skirmish between police supporters and citizens seeking reform Wednesday in yet another sign of how overtly factious the St. Louis region has become since the police shooting of Ferguson teen Michael Brown.

The meeting stayed relatively calm for the first hour as attendees testified to the aldermanic public-safety committee about a proposal to create a civilian oversight board, which would review complaints against police. Both Kansas City and Columbia already have similar review boards.

But when a police officer's testimony drew loud whispers and angry mutterings from the packed room, Jeff Roorda, the business manager for the police union, lost it.

More »

Missouri Lawmakers Can't Hold Dinner "Hearings" at Fancy Country Clubs Anymore

Categories: Politics

YouTube/KRCG 13
For these Missouri representatives, lawmaking also comes with a lot of free food.
There's a fresh controversy in the Missouri legislature, and this time, for a change, it doesn't involve the return of "legitimate rape."

Instead, the ire is being directed at the four Republican members of the Missouri House Telecommunications Committee who last night grabbed dinner at the posh, jackets-only Jefferson City Country Club. Over drinks and a sumptuous entrée selection (saffron sea bass, honey miso chicken or an eight ounce filet au poivre), the elected officials proceeded to accomplish, well, nothing, since no bills have been assigned to the committee. The dinner tab was footed by the Missouri Telecommunications Industry Association, a lobbying group for the industry the four lawmakers are tasked with regulating.

Enjoying a lobbyist-funded meal is hardly excessive for the Missouri legislature, but the stink raised after last night's hearing got so bad House Speaker John Diehl announced this morning that, effective immediately, all house committee hearings must take place at the capitol, according to PoliticMO.

More »

Unlike Last Year, No Mention of LGBT Protections in Gov. Nixon's State of the State

Categories: LGBT, Politics

Governor Jay Nixon gives the State of the State address to the legislature.
In a year when President Barack Obama made history just for saying the word "transgender" in the State of the Union, Governor Jay Nixon made no mention of LGBT issues in Wednesday's State of the State address.

That's a change from last year, when Nixon specifically called on the Missouri Legislature to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, which protects LGBT people from being fired, evicted or refused service due to their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

"We need to end discrimination against LGBT Missourians in the workplace," Nixon said during last year's State of the State speech. "No Missourian should be fired because of who they are or who they love. Last year, the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act passed the Senate with bipartisan support but failed to get to my desk. Let's get it done this year."

More »

State of the Union 2015: Obama Mentions Ferguson in Call for Reforming Justice System

Categories: Politics

intel photos via flickr
President Barack Obama also had a State of the Union message for children: "Your lives matter."
Of course President Barack Obama mentioned Ferguson in the 2015 State of the Union.

More than 160 days after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, the word Ferguson has come to represent a national rallying cry for racial justice. The question wasn't whether Obama, America's first black president, would drop the F-bomb; it was how.

More »

Internet Dubs Missouri Rep. Elijah Haahr a Closeted Asshole for "Religious Freedom" Bill

Categories: Politics

This was one of the nicer responses to Rep. Elijah Haahr's religious freedom bill.
An avowed defender of religious liberty, Missouri State Representative Elija Haahr was shocked last week by an onslaught of mean tweets, emails and Facebook messages directed at his "Student Freedom of Association Act," which seeks to enshrine religion-based discrimination on college campuses.

To be fair, "mean" may be putting it too mildly.

"The level of discourse in politics has descended into the gutter," tweeted Haahr, seemingly fuming after receiving messages that accused him of being secretly gay, a Nazi or, simply, just an asshole. In response, Haahr took a lesson from troll-shaming websites and began re-posting the nastiness, writing that "It's time to shine the light on those who send vile, nasty threats."

More »

St. Peters Drops Trespassing Charge for Activist Arrested for Filming 2012 GOP Caucus

Categories: Politics

The man filming these cops, Kenny Suitter, was not in the mood for discussion. Soon after, he was arrested for trespassing.
The year was 2012, the election was presidential, and the St. Charles County Republican nominating caucus was a veritable circus.

Kenny Suitter, at the time a conservative radio host, was among the 1,000-plus attendees who filled the Francis Howell North High School gym on the morning of March 17. He wasn't the only one who became incensed when party officials told the crowd they could not film the proceedings.

"I think that caucuses should be transparent," says Suitter, who was arrested and charged with trespassing that day after he refused to put down his camera. Last week, the city of St. Peters quietly dropped the charge.

More »

LGBT Missourians Take Fight Against Workplace Discrimination to Legislature, Again

Categories: LGBT, Politics

Purple Sherbet Photography
LGBT couples may have the right to marry in (some parts of) Missouri, but they still aren't protected from being fired, evicted or refused service based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

That means an LGBT couple who weds on Sunday could end up jobless and homeless on Monday with no legal ramifications, all because of who they love or how they look.

The Missouri Legislature could change all that, but it hasn't. For fifteen years, the legislature has failed to pass the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of identities protected from employment and housing discrimination.

Now the battle is on to convince lawmakers, especially the 163 members of Missouri's House of Representatives, to grant those basic protections for LGBT Missourians before the clock runs out on yet another legislative session.

More »

Nixon Nixes Special Ferguson Funding Session, Lawmakers Respond With Snark

Categories: Ferguson, Politics

Governor Jay Nixon celebrates Thanksgiving with members of the National Guard.
Governor Jay Nixon sounded more than a little frantic last week after checking the state's coffers to pay the National Guard and Missouri State Highway Patrol for guarding Ferguson during last month's violent unrest.

Nixon even called for a special session, imploring lawmakers in a letter to take "swift action" or else risk not being able to pay troopers and soldiers on their December 15 payday.

"Time is of the essence," he said in a statement. "It is vital that we act quickly so that we can fulfill our obligation to the men and women who are so bravely and capably serving their fellow citizens."

Turns out, the money is already in the budget. It has been all along.

More »