Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Newman: Paranoia rampant in Missouri House

(In her latest report, Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis, appears to be writing an outlandish satire on government gone wrong. Instead, she is simply reporting what is going on in Jefferson City on the taxpayers' dime.)
You might have thought the Missouri House was seriously considering job proposals or Medicaid expansion.  Instead, this past week we have been focusing on the following. 
It’s clear that extremists in the Speaker’s office are in charge -  you decide!  If nothing else, we are keeping Huffington Post reporters in business, providing
a wealth of copy from Missouri.
 Last week we debated HB46 on the floor, sponsored by Rep. Casey Guernsey (G-Bethany) regarding the use of unmanned aircraft surveillance in Missouri.  His bill would bar warrant-less surveillance via manned or unmanned aircraft. It also would require journalists to seek permission from property owners before using unmanned aircraft, and private organizations or state agencies would have to seek permission for any aircraft surveillance. 
 Rep. Guernsey mentioned during debate that he filed the bill to protect corporate farms in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s alleged use of drones in Nebraska and Iowa. But according to the Washington Post, the EPA never used drones. Instead, the agency has relied on small, manned aircraft to look for clean-water violations.  However he said on the House floor that “ the government has shown a willingness and capability to actually spy on citizens.”
 Opponents argued this legislation goes too far and has severe impacts on law enforcement surveillance and research at University of Missouri.  It was obvious HB46 was designed to protect corporate farms from attempts to expose their suspected wrongdoing
 I voted NO – as did every Minority member and a few others.  It passed by a vote of 87-66.
 Monday we debated HB42, sponsored by Rep. Lyle Rowland (R-Branson) which would regulate certain policies which might affect property owners.
 Specifically HB42 deals with Agenda 21, a non-binding action plan regarding sustainable development adopted by the United Nations in 1992.
 The conversation on the floor quickly turned to “Space Aliens”.  Really.  And how Agenda 21 must might affect housing developments in the Ozarks.  Really. 
 A piece of the floor debate below - courtesy of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
 "Agenda 21, a lot of people think it is a conspiracy theory, but it is a real book," stated Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob).  House Minority Leader Jacob Hummel (D-St. Louis) questioned how the state could ban something that is not law. "Do you think we should waste time on a mythical thing?" Hummel asked Fitzpatrick.
 Fitzpatrick argued that lawmakers "absolutely" should be discussing the bill and that local government executives may try to implement Agenda 21 through executive orders.
 Hummel asked if the state Legislature should consider other bans. "Could we talk about space aliens coming down? That could happen," Hummel said.
 "If you believe space aliens exist, then you are welcome to introduce a bill," Fitzpatrick shouted back.
 Read the Front Page of Huffington Post on HB42 = HERE.
 Read the Front Page AGAIN of Huffington Post on HB42 & 46  = HERE.
 HB42 passed by a vote of 110-40.  I'll let you guess how I voted.
Filmed last night with Andy Kroll of Mother Jones Magazine, Sean Nicholson of Progress Missouri and me - with Huff Post Live host, Jason Soboroff. 
 Rep. Steve Cookson (R-Poplar Bluff) filed HB1040 last week – which contains only one sentence:  “Specifies that school age children of welfare recipients must attend public school at least 90% of the time in order to receive benefits”. 
 There is much in HB1040 that is disturbing from “welfare recipients” (anyone receiving government assistance?) to“must attend public school”  (affecting students on scholarships to private & faith based schools) to “90% of the time” (heaven forbid, a student contracts a lengthy illness, such as Mono).
 It’s obvious that Rep. Cookson has an agenda – again, disturbing for someone who chairs the House Elementary & Secondary Education Committee.  Last year he filed the renowned “Don’t Say Gay Bill”, HB2051, which would prohibit the teaching of sexual orientation in public schools and eliminate any school sponsored Gay Straight Alliance student chapters.

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