Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Monday, April 10, 2006

JMO4Rep Update - mid-April 2006

Friends, Supporters, and Constitutents,

Last week wins my nomination for "Most Disgusting Week" of the 2006 Legislative Session so far (although the budget bills debate of mid-March still wins Most Harmful Week 2006 to date):

- We debated HB 1075, the "Sex Mis-Education" bill that includes religious doctrine and sexist oppression masquerading as science and education policy. There is some good news here! - The bill was moved to the informal calendar after two amendments were added, and that may be a sign that the bill is dead. The bill has enough serious flaws that many legislators who wear the "pro-life" label on both sides of the aisle do not want to go on record as voting for it.

- The House overwhelmingly passed House Joint Resolution 39 which calls for a November constitional amendment vote to affirm our First Amendment rights to religious freedom. Supporters say this will educate the public that children can take their Bibles to school and that voluntary prayer on school grounds is allowed. I think the real reason for the vote is clear in that the GOP defeated an amendment to move the vote from November to August 2006. This is blatant partisan politics and an effort to draw the religious right to the polls in November. Hopefully this group will discover what their Bibles say about poverty and peace and stop being dupes for the Republican Party by November.

- On April 6, the House voted 132-23-2 in favor of legislation that would allow Missourians to use deadly force against persons unlawfully entering their homes or vehicles. HB 1461, sponsored by state Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, would provide immunity from prosecution or civil suit in such instances. I voted no as I believe that the current laws adequately allow homeowners to protect themselves and that there are more dangers than benefits in encouraging citizens to "shoot first and ask questions later."

- The last straw was the April 5 hearing on my tax restructuring bill, HB 1960, which would have reduced the tax burden for 60% of Missourians, while creating a tax system that is more up equitable, adequate, and sustainable. One billion dollars in new revenue would have been produced for essential state services like public and higher education, health, mental health, and child care. Representatives Cooper, Muschany, Pratt, and Yates immediately went into full Norquist/Reagan spin mode, labeling the bill only as a billion dollar tax increase and refusing to discuss the real details of the bill. Some were rude to my witnesses, allies who have long worked to serve our neighbors in need, and I found this heart-breaking. I withdrew the bill the next morning out of frustration that such a bill cannot get a fair hearing and reality-based discussion at this time. I do thank Chairman Ted Hoskins for the hearing in his Special Committee on Urban Issues, and I very much appreciated Rep. Yaphett El-Amin's positive contributions during the hearing. To the GOP colleagues named above I say, Missouri deserves better than you gave on April 5.

Petition Initiatives
Several important petition drives are going on, and I'd like to ask you to support two and to oppose one:

To volunteer to collect signatures to reinstate the Medicaid program, contact Christine Reynoso, Initiative Petition Coordinator-St. Louis, Peoples Agenda Fund; 314-800-3934 cell;

To volunteer to collect signatures to raise the MO minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $6.50 per hour contact Audrey Hollis, Jobs with Justice organizer, 314-644-0466;

Recently, a statewide organization, Missourians In Charge, filed petition language with the Missouri Secretary of StateÂ’s office to place a Tax and Spending Limit or TABOR (Tax Payers Bill of Rights) amendment on the November 2006 ballot. The petition is actually more restrictive and harmful than the legislative version of TABOR, House Joint Resolution 48. Missouri faces a very real danger that this innocent-sounding but destructive proposal will be placed on a statewide vote.
If you are approached to sign a petition for a Tax and Spending Limit in Missouri, DO NOT SIGN IT! Educate your friends, family and neighbors about the ballot initiative and urge them not to support this proposal.
Federal Issues
It was exciting to offer support during the Immigration Reform Rally on April 9. At least 5,000 gathered and marched at Kiener Plaza. Archbishop Burke and Mayor Slay and I are not always on the same side, so it was good to be on the same podium with them. (I also enjoyed joining the Vietnamese American community of St. Louis for their King Hung Founder's Day celebration on April 8.)

Missouri's budget woes will only get worse if the proposed federal budget is passed. Thanks to all who have contacted the Missouri Congressional delegation and senators Bond and Talent to oppose deep cuts to social programs. The status quo is changing folks, so keep it up! The GOP thought they'd get this budget passed long ago, but grassroots agitation has had a profound impact.

I have received information from constituents about issues of religious oppression and fears about Pres. Bush's chest-thumping toward Iran, and I will communicate these concerns to Congressman Carnahan's office and ask for his assistance.

Legislative Session continues through May 12. I appreciate your prayers and the affirmations that many have sent.