This week in the General Laws Committee, we conducted a hearing on Senate Bill 150, a measure I co-sponsored. The bill declares certain federal firearm laws unenforceable in Missouri and makes it a crime for public officers, agents, and employees and licensed firearms dealers to enforce such laws.
Gun control is currently one of the most hotly debated issues in our country. There are passionate appeals from both sides. This bill basically just reaffirms Missourians’ Second Amendment Rights and prohibits laws that would violate those rights from being enforced in Missouri. Ultimately, though, this bill is about more than the right to bear arms, as important as that right may be. This measure is a pronounced stand against the federal government’s attempts to undermine and curtail our constitutional rights.
If there needs to be changes to how gun-ownership is regulated, those changes should come from the states. State sovereignty is a critical part of our democracy. Our founders gave states extreme latitude in crafting policies that best suit their areas, and with good reason. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for a country of our size and diversity. In recent years, though, state’s rights and the constitutional rights of their citizens have been ignored. Gun control is only the latest example.
Due to a provision of the Affordable Care Act, states are under increasing pressure from the federal government to expand the eligibility of Medicaid, a move that would add hundreds of thousands of people to government healthcare and cost billions. Many states balked at the measure, fearing the costs of the expansion would affect their ability to fund critical parts of government, like transportation and education.
The federal government then used strong-arm tactics to get states to comply, threatening to withhold Medicaid funding unless states approved the expansion. After the U.S. Supreme Court declared that move unconstitutional, the federal government now plans to reduce payments hospitals receive for treating uninsured patients unless states agree to the expansion.
Missourians know what’s best for Missouri, and we should be allowed to craft policies that best suit our state and our citizens. We do not need the government forcing unwieldy policies and mandates that go against our Constitution down our throats. As your state senator, I took an oath to defend both the Missouri and United States constitutions. I will do everything in my power to see our rights are protected.
In other news, the Senate spent a considerable amount of time this week debating Missouri’s Second Injury Fund (SIF). The SIF has faced increasing fiscal shortfalls over the years. Now, it’s nearly insolvent.
This is an issue that affects everyone in the state, from the employers who pay to fund the SIF to the workers who are covered under it. As we try to find a solution, we have to balance the interests of both employers and employees and craft a fix that will work for everyone. We’ve already spent a lot of long hours debating this issue, and I expect more in the coming weeks.