Defending traditional families

Under the Dome Update January 23-27, 2006

– Week in Review –

TUESDAY

We had a wonderful turn out for the “Renew the Vision” home school rally, sponsored by Families for Home Education. The many speakers included Senators and House members who are home educators themselves, and other lawmakers who were all very proud to stand for the freedom to educate our children according to our personal convictions.

One of the most exciting introductions of the rally was the surprise greeting from Missouri’s new Office Child Advocate Omnibudsmann, Steven Marrow (arranged by MFN’s Kerry Messer). Marrow, Governor Blunt’s replacement for Mary McEnery (who had recently issued a biased and anti-home school report to state officials calling for oppressive government regulations) was very happy to show open support of home schooling. A short interview with Marrow revealed someone who was deeply committed to the role of advocating for children from a more balanced perspective. It was exciting to hear Marrow’s open statement of support for home education!

WEDNESDAY

Several hundred people filled the capital rotunda for the Property Rights Day rally, sponsored by Missouri Farm Bureau. MFN was among the many co-sponsors of the event. Speakers from many different organizations addressed the crowd with Senate and House leadership present on the front row. In addition to the many different speakers; Governor Blunt spoke, and again reaffirmed his commitment to protecting our churches from the threat of eminent domain abuse.

Chief Justice Michael Wolfe presented the “State of the Judiciary” speech Wednesday. In his speech, Wolfe referred to the different branches of government as “constitutional partners”, who must work together to uphold the “rule of law”. Wolfe went on to outline three things that he deemed necessary to have an effective judicial branch- Independence, Accountability, and Adequate Resources.

Wolfe was quick to say that by independence, he did not mean that judges were free to do whatever they want. He explained instead that they were free from party ties and influences. As he spoke about accountability, he referred to the retention vote as though it was more than adequate as a way to hold judges accountable to the people whom they serve. His last point, adequate resources, was just a reminder that the judicial branch is growing and expanding; but still has the same basic budget from several years ago. Allocated only 1.6% of the state’s total budget, maybe the other branches of government could learn to work with less also(?).

Space does not allow us to analyze the State of the Judiciary like we would like to at this point!

Senate and House committees heard several hours of testimony regarding TIF(Tax Increment Financing), “blight”, and emenint domain abuses and reforms. These public hearings, debates and the tug-a-war over property rights will continue as eminent domain reform dominates the 2006 Missouri General Assembly..

REMEMBER: If bureaucrats, lawyers, and judges are left to define the law – bureaucrats, lawyers, and judges will control the law!

ACTION NEEDED: As the 2006 legislative session focuses on eminent domain reform (due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s KILO decision) lawmakers need to be reminded that churches and non-profit ministries are now sitting ducks for abuse! Kilo allows state and local governments to target taking private property through eminent domain for no other reason than to increase tax revenues from their current land use. Churches and non-profit ministries pay no local, state or federal taxes. Many of these properties sit on highly prized locations in the eyes of unscrupulous commercial developers.

Contact your Representative and Senator. Kindly remind them that the value Missouri churches and non-profit ministries provide to Missouri and our local communities is far higher than ANY tax revenues that could be generated through alternative land uses! Ask them, “please reform eminent domain abuse to protect Missouri churches and ministries”!

THURSDAY

MFN spent the day rushing from office to office due to a last minute flurry of requests for help in framing responses, arguments, and defenses for lawmakers on a variety of subjects.

Please keep us in prayer as we daily struggle to defend the Family according to biblical principles.