Guns on trains

The concealed-carry controversy continues with a new Missouri bill.

House Bill 1938 would allow permit holders to carry firearms aboard public transit systems in the state.

A public hearing was held in the Missouri Capitol on Wednesday. Many testified, with those in favor arguing the bill protects Missourians’ right to self-defense while those against argued that more guns would just lead to greater danger.

Read the Missourian’s full coverage of the bill here.

Constitutional amendment could grant personhood status for Missouri fetuses

A proposed amendment, House Joint Resolution 98, would enshrine in the Missouri Constitution a right to life for “unborn human children at every stage of biological development.” In theory, this would completely outlaw the practice of abortion in the state.

Both advocates and opponents of the measure testified before a House committee in the Missouri Capitol Tuesday afternoon.

Read the Missourian’s full coverage of the hearing here.

DSC_0840
A packed room in the Missouri Capitol Tuesday signifies strong conviction of both supporters and opponents of HJR 98.
DSC_0848
Attorney Rebecca Kiessling, a child of rape, testifies in support of HJR 98
DSC_0850
Pro-life supporters empty a deluge of “Roses for Life,” which represent unborn fetuses killed by abortion.

 

Missouri General Assembly: The session thus far

Following a short break, the Missouri General Assembly resumes session on Tuesday.

In case you missed it, here are a few highlights of the 2016 legislative session so far, as well as a few developing stories to keep watch through the coming weeks.


 

Jan. 27 – The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, or MONA, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes to the Missouri Human Rights Statute, attempts another run at codification this session, the 18th year in a row.

Feb. 8 – The Missouri Senate debates SB 816, which would repeal the state’s death penalty. Since then, progress on the bill has stalled, although it remains on the Senate’s informal calendar for further debate.

Feb. 24 – The Missouri Supreme Court hears arguments in Progress Missouri v. Missouri Senate, in which a liberal advocacy group is suing the state Senate for disruption of a supposed right to film public hearings. The Supreme Court later transferred the case to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, where it awaits further action.

Mar. 8 – Senate Democrats filibuster a Republican-backed “religious liberty” bill opponents say would discriminate against LGBT Missourians. The filibuster ends after two days of deliberation, allowing the bill to pass through the state Senate.

Mar. 8 – The Missouri House of Representatives votes to deepen budget cuts for the University of Missouri, following backlash from campus leadership’s handling of protests that gained national attention last November. Increased funding through private donations, however, may help the university recover from the cuts.

Mar. 14 – The Missouri legislature has introduced at least 17 bills regarding concealed carry over the course of the current legislative session, including the extremely controversial “campus carry” bills, which would see concealed carry legalized on college campuses in the state. Few, if any, of these bills are likely to pass, however.

Mar. 27 – Ethics reform for the state legislature continues its rocky trajectory with few bills of substance making their way into law this session, despite lawmakers’ earlier stated goals.

What do puppies have to do with Missouri’s new agriculture data bill?

Senate Bill 928, sponsored by Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, would provide greater privacy protection to farmers partnering with state agencies on environmental research.

The Humane Society of the United States believes the bill’s vague language could also prevent the release of records related to commercial dog breeding, allowing safe harbor for unethical “puppy mill” owners.

However, Munzlinger disagrees, saying his bill would do nothing of the sort.

Read the Missourian’s coverage of the bill here.

Standardized testing opt-out bill sees passioned response from both sides

HB 2315, sponsored by Rep. Kurt Bahr, R-St. Charles, would allow parents to opt their children out of statewide standardized tests, such as MAP.

In today’s Missourian article, I present opinions and arguments from the bill sponsor and a local Columbia mother, as well as representatives from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Missouri National Education Association.

Critics say the bill would disproportionately affect low-achieving students. Proponents highlight what they see as the overuse of standardized exams and the lack of local control in education.