Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Thursday, September 22, 2005

JMO4Rep Update - Special Session edition

Friends and allies,

I was very active in the recent Extraordinary Session called by Gov. Blunt in that I sit on the Children and Families Committee that heard both House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1. These so called "pro-life" bills focused on making it possible to file a lawsuit against any one who assists a minor in crossing a state line to have an abortion without parental consent. The bills also prohibited doctors from performing abortions unless they have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice.

Rep. Beth Low and I are the only pro-choice members of the Children and Families Committee so ours were the only no votes against HB1 and SB1 as they came out of committee. In the hearing on SB1, I offered a strike and replace amendment in order to try to substitute in the language of Rep. Robin Wright-Jones' House Bill 6. HB 6 focused on improving sex ed, offering care to rape victims, protecting the right to birth control, and offering family planning services. The amendment was ruled out of order.

During floor debate on the bill, Democratic representatives and one Republican representative tried to make a number of improvements, but all amendments failed. Rep. Connie Johnson attempted to tighten the language of SB1 so that the vague "cause, aid, or assist" was changed to "transport" since Sen. Louden claimed the bill was about helping minors cross state lines, not private counseling by a social worker, mentor, or clergyperson. When Johnson's amendment failed, I offered a Religious Freedom Amendment to exempt pastors and other clergy from prosecution under the bill. I spoke as persuasively as I could about the need to honor the the freedom of religion language of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately only 37 representatives voted Aye with me, so the Amendment failed.

In the end, SB1 was truly agreed to and finally passed by the MO House by a vote of 115-35. Gov. Blunt quickly signed SB1 into law, but a federal judge blocked the new law's implementation the next day. I believe SB1 will be found unconstitutional on several grounds. I will continue to stress that the best way to reduce abortions is through education, family planning, and respect of women.

I voted to override Gov. Blunt's line item vetos on many important items including Alzheimer's Research and restoring funds to the Office of Public Counsel which represents consumers agsint the powerful utility companies. Unfortunately there were not enough votes to overturn any of his unwise cuts to key programs. (Gov. Blunt's approval rating currently stands at about 36% according to a poll from last week.)

I have written an editorial called "Learning the Lessons of Hurricane Katrina," featured recently in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Two important special elections are being held this fall. Democrats can pick up a seat in the 94th District where Jane Bogetto is running for the seat that had been held by Rep. Richard Byrd who died in May. To help Jane win, call 314-909-6676 to volunteer or mail checks to:
Friends of Bogeto
417 Gill Avenue
Kirkwood, MO 63122

Bobby Simpson is running for the seat vacated by Frank Barnitz who won the special election to become Senator when Sarah Steelman became state treasurer. To support Simpson, call 573-729-6583 or mail checks to:
Citizens for Bobby Simpson
Route 5, Box 443
Salem, MO 65560

Today newspapers throughout the state reported that Missouri is now 50th in the nation in terms of eligibility guidelines for childcare subsidies.

This is an issue that I tried to address by having HB 683 drafted this spring. (See I had the bill drafted and then asked Rep. Cathy Jolly to be sponsor of the bill because I recognize that as a freshman Democrat from the most progressive wing of the party, I do not have much clout at present, and I wanted this
bill to move. Unfortunately it did not receive a hearing. I guess the chair of Children and Families was much more interested in abortion bills this year. Rep. Jolly and I will bring this legislation back in 2006 and will press hard for its passage.

Finally, if you are interested in buying a house, learn how to do so with no down payment, closing costs, or fees at a workshop hosted by Rep. Wright-Jones on Saturday, October 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Salvation Army Dining Room, 2740 Arsenal (at California).