Monday, June 27, 2016

St. Louis Democrat: Today monumental for women, gun violence prevention

(From Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis)

In case you haven't heard yet, today was MONUMENTAL - both for women's reproductive choices and gun violence prevention.

The U. S. Supreme Court released their ruling in Whole Women'sHealth v. Hellerstedt, reaffirming women's right to abortion access.

By a 5-3 decision, Texas can no longer institute TRAP laws (targeted regulation of abortion providers) with burdensome & medically unnecessary clinic and physican regulations, causing many clinics to simply close. The justices ruled that these obstacles are a burden in women seeking their constitutionally protected access to abortion care - regardless of a woman's zip code

This ruling contesting Texas HB2, which was signed into law 3 years ago, is the biggest win for abortion rights advocates in 25 years - those of us who care about protecting women's legal right to reproductive care without interference.

Supreme Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (affectionately known as "Notorious RBG") said this in her concurring opinion:

The Supreme Court also ruled 6-2 upholding a federal law restricting guns from domestic violence abusers

The court ruled that domestic abusers DO NOT have a right to keep and bear arms if they were convicted of misdemeanor domestic-violence offenses. Violating the law, named after the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, carries a federal feloncy charge with a 10 year maximum sentence.

This is a big win for domestic violence advocacy groups. Women are shot and killed at high rates by their abusers every year which counts for many of the mass shootings across the country (often involving additional family members). Sadly, Missouri does not have a companion state law but I will continue to file legislation prohibiting abusers & felons from owning firearms in Missouri.


Governor Nixon did what we asked - vetoed SB656 which includes Permit-less CCW and "Stand Your Ground" provisions today.

This morning Governor Nixon announced his veto of SB656 at the Missouri Police Chiefs Association annual conference. His official veto statement included:

“As Governor, I have signed bills to expand the rights of law-abiding Missourians to carry concealed and am always willing to consider ways to further improve our CCW process. But I cannot support the extreme step of throwing out that process entirely, eliminating sensible protections like background checks and training requirements, and taking away the ability of sheriffs to protect their communities.”

The Governor’s concerns echo those voiced by law enforcement agencies, including the Missouri Police Chiefs Association (MPCA), representing 600 members statewide, and the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, which represents 6,400 law enforcement officers across the state. St. Louis and Kansas City mayors, prosecutors and police chiefs also asked that he vetoed. St. Louis and Kansas City mayors, prosecutors and police chiefs also asked that he veto the bill.

Governor Nixon's full Veto Letter HERE.

So, What's Next for SB656?

Veto Session is Wednesday, September 14th. 109 votes in the House and 23 votes in the Senate are necessary to override a Governor's veto.

SB656 passed the House by 113-36 - 4 Democrats Ira Anders (Independence),Ben Harris (Hillsboro), Rory Rowland (Independence) and Stephen Webber(Columbia) voted yes with the GOP.

SB656 passed the Senate strictly by party line: 24 GOP voting yes and 8 Dem voting no.

By our math, we need 5 Representatives OR 2 Senators to change their votes. With the NRA's purchase of the Missouri Republican Party - along with a few Democrats, getting any to alter their vote in an election year will be HUGE.

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