In her latest column, Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis offers a nightmarish account of the items that are dominating the time of the Missouri House of Representatives:
YOU MUST BE WONDERING WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE DOING IN JEFF CITY...
Our recent legislative agenda doesn’t quite jive with Speaker Steven Tilley’s remarks on opening day, January 5th. No jobs or economic relief bills – NO, we are focused on the war against birth control and discrimination - in many forms.
This past week the House went after immigrants – continuing the trend. It’s no wonder public opinion is fairly low for elected officials, particularly those in the Missouri state legislature.
I WAS ONE OF THE “SILENCED SEVEN” – IGNORED IN BIRTH CONTROL DEBATE ON RESOLUTION TELLING CONGRESS WHAT TO DO.
On Wednesday I was one of seven Democrat women who stood at our mikes for almost 3 hours and failed to be recognized to speak on HCR41. The resolution opposes the federal health care mandate, specifically targeting contraception. The GOP argued that the mandate would impede religious freedom and the federal government should not be involved in religious organizations.
Immediately upon afternoon adjournment, we “Silenced Seven”, along with many in our Minority Caucus, held a news conference outside on the Capitol south steps and expressed our anger of the lack of recognition during the debate.
I don’t know about you but purposefully ignoring women who wanted to speak on a resolution on an issue that is unique to women is not my idea of democracy. Rep. John Diehl (R-Ladue) was presiding as speaker on the dais during the debate and knew full well we were there standing there - yes, for almost 3 hours.
I guarantee you we will CONTINUE standing and demand our voices be heard on your behalf.
MY WORK AGAINST VOTER SUPPRESSION CONTINUES…
Last weekend I had the pleasure to be on the Jaco Report on Fox2 with a St. Louis Tea Party representative talking about voter suppression efforts in MO – specifically Voter ID efforts.
AND I am thrilled to be invited to participate (along with local voter protection expert, Denise Lieberman of the Advancement Project) in the first Missouri Anti-Voter Suppression Forum hosted by Congressman Lacy Clay Jr. at Harris Stowe College on March 16th. The panel of experts will include Rev. Al Sharpton of MSNBC (who has just confirmed) along with several members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Stay tuned as more details are announced.
BIRTHER BILL AGAIN – QUESTIONING PRESIDENTIAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE. AS AMY POEHLER ON SATURDAY NIGHT SAYS... REALLY?!!
Last week my Elections Committee heard HB1046 sponsored by Rep. Lyle Rowland (a former Superintendent) – which would require the MO Secretary of State to verify the credentials of Presidential (and VP) candidates in the United States. This is Rowland's second year sponsoring the bill which had a number of cosponsors in 2011, including Reps. Shane Schoeller (R-Springfield and a GOP Secretary of State candidate).
The bill next proceeds to the Rules Committee (chaired by Rep. John Diehl) for final approval before hitting the Floor Calendar. It's also important to note that the House Floor Leader Tim Jones (R-West St. Louis County) was a plaintiff in the original lawsuit claiming that President Obama is in office illegally - the suit was rejected by the Ninth District Court of Appeals last December).
Opponents to the bill explained that both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee certify their presidential candidate nominees following each national convention and issue letters of nomination to every state's Secretary of State prior to the general election ballot deadlines. The qualifications for the office of the president are set by the U.S. Constitution.
The hearing on HB1046 lasted over 45 minutes. Rep. Rowland had a number of his constituents there to testify in favor of his bill.
HOUSE ENDORSES ENGLISH-ONLY DRIVER’S LICENSE TESTS
We voted Thursday 93-63 in favor of prohibiting MO from offering driver’s license exams in languages other than English. The state currently offers written tests in 11 languages. The bill, HB 1186, now goes to the Senate. We had GOP state reps who crossed over to vote with us, but not enough.
Supporters of the bill said people who want to get Missouri driver’s license should be proficient in the state’s dominant language in order to better assimilate. I VOTED NO – AS YOU WOULD HAVE EXPECTED OF ME. My husband is a first-bornAmerican in his family which includes several who escaped Germany in the late 1930’s. Frankly, I do not understand anti-immigrant sentiment in the Capitol since no one there is using native-American language.
The insurance industry opposes the legislation, which it says will make it harder for non-native English speakers to obtain a license, thus increasing the number of unlicensed and uninsured motorists on Missouri roadways. The Missouri State Highway Patrol has said the bill would not enhance driver safety since most road signs are based on internationally recognized symbols. Other opponents have simply labeled the legislation as a xenophobic effort to punish legal immigrants with no legitimate public policy purpose.