– Week in Review –
Week of May 1-5, 2006
MONDAY, May 1, 2006
Monday’s Jefferson City political nerve center bore witness to two competing headliners:
First was the submission of over 288,000 signatures turned over to the Secretary of State’s Elections Division guaranteeing placement of the misleading “clone & kill” initiative. This petition drive will be certified in the near days ahead to place a constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot this fall, to protect human cloning while claiming the legal-lie that it would “ban human cloning.” Using their millions of dollars, supporters of the initiative will now seek to mislead and con as many voters as they can to vote for this anti-life amendment just as they bought the signatures to get on the ballot.
Second was the strategically timed release of a statement from U.S. Senator Jim Talent on the proposal.
U.S. SENATOR JIM TALENT STATEMENT ON STEM CELL BALLOT INITIATIVE
“I personally cannot support the initiative because I’ve always been opposed to human cloning and this measure would make cloning human life at the earliest stage a constitutional right.
“As I’ve repeatedly said, at the federal level, I will continue to support new alternatives and research that hold promise to give us exactly the stem cells we want to relieve human suffering without cloning.
“I would encourage every Missourian to study the initiative carefully and make up their own minds on this very difficult moral issue.”
If only more ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½pro-lifeÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ officials would make such clear statements, maybe the voters would not be so easily misled. So much for all the clamoring about Senator Talent failing to lead. MFN publicly asks, Where are the civic leaders now? Why are so few willing to speak the truth? We must discern between lawmakers who are pro-life in principle and politicians who are only pro-life in politics ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ the difference is as far apart as life and death!
Meanwhile, Under the Dome:
The Senate Judiciary, Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee had a very full evening with several bills of importance. The Senate Judiciary, like most all committees meeting in these last few days have started moving much faster than usual to push their final pieces of legislation.
HB 1864, sponsored by Representative Jerry Nolte – Would prohibit the admission of illegal aliens to public institutions of higher education. HB 1864 will now move on to the Senate floor where Senator Ridgway will be handling the legislation after being voted ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½do passÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ through the committee.
SCS HB 1075, sponsored by Representative Cynthia Davis ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ This pro-life legislation includes the most important provision offered this year ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ to remove Planned Parenthood from being able to teaching sex ed (or providing sex ed materials) in our public schools. After taking public testimony, the committee adopted the bill and voted it ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½do passÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½.
Unfortunately, we will most likely see a few of the other provisions trimmed out of the bill. Although the main provision is safe, there are ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½political forcesÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ pushing to strip out what they consider to be ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½less importantÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½. Sadly this is the political reality; we ask for a foot, and settle for a few inchesÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ we ask for six inches and settle for two (settle, not compromise, not give up and not give in!). By the end of the day we get the whole foot, even though that day may be several years long. State Senator Gary Nodler will be presenting the bill on the Senate floor.
HB 1182, sponsored by Representative Bryan Stevenson – Allows persons with custodial rights to petition the juvenile court to extend jurisdiction over a child until he or she reaches age 18. Under current law there is a loophole affecting troubled teens who are between the ages of 17 ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ 18. Juvenile CourtsÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ jurisdiction runs out at the age of 17 and teen culture advocates promote that teens abandon their parents instructions and guidance in exploitation of this legal loophole. The bill was voted ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½Do PassÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ by the Senate Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.
HB 1461, sponsored by Representative Marilyn Ruestman ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ Often referred to as the ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½Castle DoctrineÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½, HB 1461 would change the current law which would require you (in your own home) to retreat from intruders. This legislation would protect the individuals who must use ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½defensiveÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ force to defend their families. In Executive session, the Judiciary Committee voted HB 1461 through with a ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½due passÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ motion.
HB 1347 was referred to the Senate Education Committee. Sponsored by Representative Peter Myers, this bill requires students at public institutions of higher education to take courses regarding United State Constitution, the Missouri Constitution, American History, and governmental institutions.
OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST OCCURRING ON MONDAY:
HB 1461 – Ruestman – Modifies the laws regarding defensive use of force
Voted Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
HB 1864 – Nolte – Prohibits the admission of unlawfully present aliens to public institutions of higher education
Public Hearing Conducted in the Senate Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Committee where it was also voted Do Pass.
TUESDAY, May 2, 2006
Tuesday committee schedule included hearings and work on:
The House & Senate Joint Committee on Gaming and Wagering. Senator John Loudon, chairman of the committee held back a minor revolt as his committee members revolted against his stance on illegal Gaming Devices such as slot machines and video poker (known to be commonly operating throughout the state).
The House Special Committee on Immigration Reform, chaired by Representative Ed Emery, held two sessions (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) focused on SCS SB 1250, sponsored by Senator Bill Alter. This bill contains a variety of provisions regarding illegal aliens, with the key section granting the Missouri State Highway Patrol authority to interact with INS (Immigration & Naturalization Service) in order to respond to illegal activities in Missouri.
The Senate Pensions, Veterans’ Affairs and General Laws, Chairman Jason Crowell, took public testimony on HB 1482, sponsored by Representative Jack Jackson, to expand educational assistance benefits for Missouri National Guard members, and HB 1677, sponsored by Representative Doug Ervin, to authorizes a phased-in income tax deduction, beginning in tax year 2006, for the cost of personally funded health insurance premiums.
The House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee with chairman Scott Lipke focused on SB 873, sponsored by Senator Michael Gibbons, to change the laws regarding criminal background checks, and SCS SBs 1185, 1163, 1174, 1200 & 1225, sponsored by Senator Kevin Engler, to reorganize the State Emergency Management Agency under the Department of Public Safety.
HB 1698, sponsored by Representative Scott Lipke, was sent from the Senate Judiciary Committee to the Senate floor. HB 1698 contains the House version of ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½JessicaÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½s LawÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½, which carries a mandatory sentence for forcible rape and sodomy.
HB 1534, sponsored by Representative Jim Lembke, providing funding for umbilical cord blood banks and non-fetal human stem cell research, was reported from the Senate Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Committee to the full Senate Floor.
OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST OCCURRING ON TUESDAY:
HB 1182 – Stevenson – Allows persons with custodial rights to petition the juvenile court to extend jurisdiction over a child until he or she reaches age 18
Reported to the full Senate after having been voted Do Pass on Monday evening in the Senate Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
HB 1482 – Jackson – Modifies educational assistance benefits for Missouri National Guard members
Had a public hearing in the Senate Pensions, Veterans’ Affairs and General Laws Committee with a Senate Committee Substitute being voted Do Pass
HB 1814 – Nieves – Requires English to be the language of all official proceedings in the state
Sent to the Senate from the House which had adopted the bill earlier and referred to the Senate Pensions, Veterans’ Affairs and General Laws Committee
WEDNESDAY, May 3, 2006
HB 1944, sponsored by Representative Steve Hobbs, modifies laws relating to eminent domain abuse.
After several hours of debate the Senate Third Read and Passed HB 1944, thus setting the bill up for joint House and Senate conference committee meetings to hammer out a final version of the bill. (see Friday)
The House and Senate worked late into the night to fulfill their Constitutional requirement to finish the state 2007 operating budget. The current proposal, which the House finished up on Wednesday evening, (almost $21 Billion) was piecemealed together throughout a series of fifteen appropriations bills.
Both the House and, as of last week, the Senate had adopted their own versions. Originally the Governor submits a spending plan to the Legislature, as was the case this year also, and the General Assembly put together the final package for the Governor to accept or reject. (Rejection of the plan would result in a special session of the General Assembly to redraft at a later time.) It is at this time that the Governor has the authority to ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½Line Item VetoÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ any specific line item appropriations he deems necessary to either fine tune the overall plan ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ to balance the budget according to projected revenue expectations ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ or to delete any item(s) he opposes for any specified reason.
OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST OCCURRING ON WEDNESDAY:
SB 588 – Bartle – Modifies the laws regarding sexual offenders
Reported Do Pass by the House Crime Prevention & Public Safety Committee
Referred to Rules Committee pursuant to Rule 25(26)(f)
Reported Do Pass by the House Fiscal Review Committee
Debated on the House floor with over a dozen amendments being discussed for several hours
HB 1275 – Baker – Establishes a virtual school program
Public Hearing Conducted in the Senate Governmental Accountability & Fiscal Oversight Committee
Voted Do Pass and placed on the Senate Calendar to await floor debate
THURSDAY, May 4, 2006
Special Committee on General Laws, chaired by Brad Roark, had previously canceled his committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday but rescheduled his committee for Thursday morning to hear public testimony on SB 913. SB 913 (sponsored by Senator Carl Vogel) would become one of the largest pieces of gambling expansion in recent years. This legislation would usher in a whole new type of gambling to our state. Dubbed the ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½kiddie casinosÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ bill, it includes unregulated accumulative pots while playing ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½gambling devicesÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ which , under the bill, would be renamed ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½amusement devicesÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½! Despite proponents claims, this new style of gambling would target younger aged people; creating yet another demographic cross section of children and teens into the addiction of gambling. The committee has not yet voted on the bill.
The Senate picked up HB 1698. Representative Lipke and Senator Bartle have been working together to tighten definitions, increase penalties, and reconstruct major portions of our law dealing with sex crimes. HB 1698 (which was sent out of the committee on Tuesday), is one that was sponsored by Rep. Lipke, and contains the House version of ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½JessicaÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½s LawÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½, which carries a mandatory sentence for forcible rape and sodomy.
The House and Senate both spent several hours over the course of this week addressing voter fraud, and other election issues. HCS SS#2 SCS SB 1014 & 730 was third read and passed, with much debate. At the close of the week, the bill remains in a tug-of-war as members of the House and Senate strive to settle differences in various provisions of the bill. Next week will see more debate.
OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST OCCURRING ON THURSDAY:
HB 1059 – Cunningham – Establishes procedures for the evaluation of credits for students transferring into an accredited public school district from an unaccredited public or nonpublic school or a home school.
Reported from the Senate Education Committee to the Floor of the Senate to await debate.
HB 1317 – Lipke – Modifies the laws relating to crime victims’ rights
Voted Do Pass by the Senate Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Monday
Reported from the Senate Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Committee to Floor on Tuesday
Referred to the Senate Governmental Accountability & Fiscal Oversight Committee on Wednesday
Hearing Conducted in the Senate Governmental Accountability & Fiscal Oversight Committee Thursday
Sent to the full Senate to face a debate once it comes up on the Senate Calendar
HB 1485 – Icet – Creates a tax credit for contributions to pregnancy resource centers
Placed on the Senate Calendar after being voted Do Pass earlier in the week by the Senate Ways & Means Committee.
HB 1534 – Lembke – Provides funding for umbilical cord blood banks and non-fetal human stem cell research
Also placed on the Senate Calendar after having a public hearing and receiving a Do Pass vote in the Senate Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.
FRIDAY, May 5, 2006
The House and Senate worked all day on a large list of items, including:
Final passage of HB 1944, the eminent domain abuse/reform bill, Sponsored by Representative Steve Hobbs.
Final passage of a bill allowing minors to taste alcoholic beverages as part of their ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½educationÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ (culinary arts). This ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½swish & spitÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ bill is SB 725, sponsored by Senator Joan Bray.
Final Passage of HB 1787, sponsored by Representative Jack Jackson, creating the “Guard at Home” program to assist families of deployed Missouri National Guard members.
OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST OCCURRING ON FRIDAY:
SB 1221 – Goodman – Modifies the law stipulating the penalty for a third stealing-related offense
Had a public hearing on Tuesday in the House Crime Prevention & Public Safety Committee where it was also voted Do Pass and sent to the House Rules Committee. One of the very last activities of the day on Friday the bill was adopted by the House Rules Committee, clearing a path for placement on the House Calendar and full floor debate next week.
SB 1250 – Alter – Enacts multiple provisions regarding illegal aliens
Received a long anticipated Do Pass vote in the House Special Committee on Immigration Reform Committee. However this House Committee Substitute version of the bill is much smaller than the original ÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Â½ but now moving forward.
SJR 26 – Ridgeway – Exempts property owned by veterans’ organizations from taxation
Voted Do Pass by the House Veterans Committee on Wednesday, was also voted Do Pass late Friday by the House Rules Committee, in preparation for floor debate in the House next week.