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01/09/23 Missouri Mondays - 2023 Legislative session is underway! Tell your electeds to support Dems

2023 Legislative session is underway! Tell your electeds to support Dems plan for teacher pay increase, access to child care, and defend initiative petitions against GOP attacks!



Welcome to another Missouri Mondays! Lawmakers were sworn in last week and the 2023 legislative session began with the Democrats’ plan focused on increasing teacher pay and access to child care, and Republicans promising continued attacks on transgender students participating in school sports, banning “critical race theory” in classrooms, making it harder to change the constitution through citizen initiative petitions.

We need your help standing up and fighting back! Find your legislator by entering your address here: https://www.senate.mo.gov/legislookup/default and then make your voice heard! Help us spread the word to sign up for Missouri Mondays updates and stay informed here: moactionalliance.com/signup

MISSOURI IN THE NEWS

“Here's how Missouri Democrats plan to focus on the people this session”

Missouri Rep. Crystal Quade

“Missouri’s state motto is salus populi suprema lex esto — the welfare of the people is the supreme law.

In an effort to live up to that standard, Missouri House Democrats will prioritize legislation during the 2023 legislative session to directly help Missourians at a time when so many are struggling.

House Democrats will fight to protect Missourians’ freedoms and defend our democracy. We’ll support laws that save lives. And we’ll make sure that when it comes to the taxpayers’ money, we’re using it to invest in Missourians and the schools, infrastructure and social services we all rely on.”

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“New Missouri House speaker says massive budget surplus should mean more tax cuts”

“Missouri’s top lawmaker opened the 2023 legislative session Wednesday by proclaiming that the state’s massive budget surplus should translate into more tax cuts.

House Speaker Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres, noted that Missouri lawmakers approved a nearly $800 million tax cut in September. But with a projected state budget surplus of $6 billion, Plocher believes “there is more room to return money to Missouri taxpayers.”

“In addition to tax cuts, Plocher also vowed to take steps to increase teacher pay.

Since 2010, the minimum starting pay for a teacher in Missouri has been $25,000. Lawmakers added $21.8 million to this year’s budget to fund a grant program to raise base pay to $38,000. About 12% of the state’s 70,400 teachers make less than that amount, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education estimates.”

“House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, spoke on the session’s opening day against a GOP-backed plan to change the initiative petition process to make it harder to amend the constitution.

“Any attempt to strip people of their power to propose and enact laws is antithetical to democracy,” Quade said.

She also noted that while major disagreements exist between her party and the Republicans —notably over abortion rights and gun safety — there are also major areas where they are on the same page, echoing Plocher’s call that a priority of the 2023 session should be raising teacher pay and improving access to childcare.

“We can agree that boosting teacher pay has to happen,” she said, “and that finding quality and affordable childcare has to be a priority to address our workforce issues and to ensure that our kids start off with the support that they need.”

Both the House and the state Senate kicked off the 2023 legislative session at noon. The session ends at 6 p.m. on May 12.”

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“Missouri lawmakers reconvene focused on sports betting, teacher pay, initiative petitions”

“The effort to legalize sports betting in the state began anew at noon Wednesday, when lawmakers began their annual session. For a vocal slice of Missouri’s population, sports wagering is the most important item on the agenda.

There are eight new senators in the 34-member upper chamber and 38 new representatives in the 163-member House. And there’s plenty more for lawmakers to work on once the chambers get organized.

The Independent spoke with the top legislative leaders of both parties and found bipartisan agreement that something must be done to increase teacher pay and improve access to child care.

Missouri has a massive budget surplus, more than $6 billion. Gov. Mike Parson will reveal his budget priorities on Jan. 18.

But the legislative session won’t be entirely bipartisan hosannas. GOP leaders said hot-button cultural issues — such as limiting transgender students’ participation in school sports and banning “critical race theory” in classrooms — will get lots of early attention.

“I’d like to get at least two of them done before spring break,” said Senate Majority Leader Cindy O’Laughlin, R-Shelbina, referring to bills pertaining to school curriculum and transgender athletes.

A series of conservative losses at the polls on policy issues such as Medicaid expansion and minimum wage, as well as likely petitions protecting abortion rights, is adding to the Republican effort to increase the threshold for constitutional amendments proposed by initiative.

Democrats are ready to resist any GOP push on controversial cultural issues, Sen. John Rizzo said. Instead, he said lawmakers should focus on bipartisan issues like school funding. “Instead,” Rizzo said, “the one thing they want to bring it back to, consistently, are these culture war issues.”

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“DIY Democracy: How to follow the Missouri General Assembly”

“Members of the 2023 Missouri legislature are in Jefferson City to begin the spring legislative session. Much of the work happens behind closed doors, but floor debates, bill hearings and other legislative happenings are easy to tune into online.

Lawmakers meet from January to May, with an occasional extra session if the governor decides a topic is a priority. Last summer, Republican Gov. Mike Parson called legislators to Jefferson City for a special session to address Parson’s desired tax cut.

Lawmakers in Missouri tend to save debate for the most hotly contested topics until the final weeks. But throughout the winter and spring, bill hearings, floor debates and more are available on the Missouri House and Senate websites. Each legislative body has its own webpage, which can make tracking certain bills a bit complicated.

To help our readers understand how to best track the legislature and get involved in the legislative process, The Beacon has prepared a guide to follow Missouri’s lawmakers from home.”

Full story and links for following Missouri General Assembly here: https://kcbeacon.org/stories/2023/01/06/how-to-follow-2023-missouri-legislature/ The Kansas City Beacon Jan 6

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“Here’s what Missouri lawmakers want students to learn — or not learn — in school”

“School safety, curriculum and discipline are among the many education-related topics on lawmakers’ minds as the Missouri General Assembly gets rolling on its 2023 session.

In all, at least 140 bills related to education were filed before and on Jan. 4, the first day of the legislative session. Not all of those bills will receive a committee hearing, and many will likely be amended over the next few months. But the large number of filings indicates that education will be a front-and-center topic in Jefferson City this year.”

The Kansas City Beacon Jan 5

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“Teacher pay, taxes and lawsuits: Missouri school finance bills to watch in 2023”

Many key education issues in Missouri center around money. They include teacher pay, how the state distributes financial aid and the impact of economic development incentives on schools’ tax revenue.

Before the 2023 legislative session began on Jan. 4, legislators filed about two dozen bills aimed at changing how the state handles financial matters in K-12 education.

Specific proposals would increase minimum teacher salaries, provide additional funding for early childhood education and protect schools from the financial burden of some lawsuits from the state attorney general.

K-12 education is one of the most popular topics for prefiled legislation in Missouri this year.”

“There is no guarantee that any bill will be heard by a committee, much less be debated by the full legislature or signed into law. Lawmakers can also amend bills at several points in the process.”

“Sen. Lauren Arthur, a Democrat from Kansas City, filed Senate Bill 19, which would increase the minimum teacher salary to $38,000. That’s a $13,000 increase from the current minimum. The National Education Association ranks Missouri 50th among the states in starting pay for teachers.

Under Arthur’s bill, teachers with a master’s degree and at least 10 years of experience in public schools would also see their minimum salaries increase by $13,000, raising their minimum annual pay to $46,000.”

Contact your representative or senator to express your opinion on any of these topics. Find your legislator by entering your address here: https://www.senate.mo.gov/legislookup/default

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Democrat Lucas Kunce announces U.S. Senate bid against Josh Hawley

“Marine veteran Lucas Kunce announced Friday that he plans to challenge Republican Josh Hawley in the 2024 race for U.S. Senate in Missouri.

Kunce, 40, chose the second anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection to make his announcement. Hawley received fierce criticism for his actions on the day of the insurrection, from pumping his fist at in support of protesters before a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol to his decision to contest President Joe Biden’s victory after the riot was quelled.

In a video posted to social media announcing his campaign, Kunce highlights the fist pump, as well as video of Hawley running through the Capitol fleeing the violent, pro-Trump mob.

“On Jan. 6, 2021, Josh Hawley showed us he’s a fraud and a coward,” Kunce said in announcing his campaign. “Missourians deserve a U.S. Senator who’s willing to stand and fight. That’s why I’ve decided to take him on.”

Lucas Kunce campaign launch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McuIscYMRmw

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries gives historic first speech as U.S. House Minority Leader

“Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the first Black leader of either major US political party, made his first speech as a part of the opening of the 118th Congress.”

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“Historic House speaker showdown highlighted matters of race and representation”

“As protracted voting for speaker of the House ground Congress to a standstill for multiple days this week, race and history permeated debate over who can best reflect the will of the American electorate on the Hill. Democrats and Republicans alike centered Black lawmakers as officials discussed the importance of representation.

In speeches on the floor throughout the week, Democrats — for whom Black voters are a core part of the party's base — highlighted the historic significance of New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries as the first Black person to lead a congressional caucus.

"We are prepared to nominate a leader who will open the door to the new generation of leadership," said caucus chair Pete Aguilar of California on the first day of voting. "A Latino is nominating for leader of this chamber a Black man for the first time in our history."

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans highlighted their own history as the party of President Lincoln and efforts toward increasing diversity. Though the caucus struggled to unite behind California Rep. Kevin McCarthy in multiple votes and for nearly a week, he was ultimately elected House speaker early Saturday on the 15th round of voting.”

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“Jeffries says McCarthy concessions to far-right members ‘just the beginning’”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) on Sunday said Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) concessions to far-right lawmakers in order to flip their votes in his favor during the Speakership elections are “just the beginning” of “dysfunction” in the new GOP-led House.

“Well, our general concern is that the dysfunction that was historic that we saw this week is not at an end, it’s just the beginning,” Jeffries said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with host Chuck Todd.

“And while the Congress was held captive this particular time, what is going to be a problem is if the American people will be held captive over the next two years to the extreme ‘MAGA’ Republican agenda that apparently has been negotiated into the House rules and the functioning of the Congress,” Jeffries said.”


 


CHECK OUT OUR MISSOURI MONDAYS NEWS SUPPLEMENT!

With so much important news each week we don’t want you to miss a thing!

 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR THESE UPCOMING ACTIONS AND EVENTS


TAKE ACTION WITH THE MISSOURI VOTER PROTECTION COALITION (MOVPC)

TO PROTECT THE RIGHT TO VOTE

Join the MOVPC meeting MONDAY JAN 9 at 10 AM

Text “MOVPC” to 66866 or register HERE: bit.ly/protectmovoters

Our work to protect the vote requires our continued attention! So we hope you'll join our next MOVPC call where we will discuss next steps in our fight to protect the right to vote in Missouri. MOVPC is a nonpartisan statewide network promoting access to the ballot and working to remove barriers to voting in Missouri!

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Kick off 2023 with MO House Democrats

Thursday, January 12

5:30-7:30 PM

Classic Cup Cafe

301 W 47th St.

Kansas City, MO 64112

Join HDCC on January 12 to start the new year off right! Find out what to expect in the legislative session and catch up with Democrats from across Missouri.

Organizing efforts require year-round work, not just when there is an upcoming election, and your donation will help build the groundwork needed to bring real change benefitting all Missourians. Help us keep building the infrastructure needed to recruit, train, and support local candidates in Missouri by making a donation here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/hdccnewyear2023

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Democratic Legislative Network Monday Night Call

Every Monday night starting January 9

Want to stay up to date on what's happening in Jefferson City and how YOU can help secure Democratic victories for Missouri? Sign up below to join the Democratic Legislative Network and be a part of our Monday night messaging calls.

Sign up here: Bit.ly/MissouriDLN

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January is National Blood Donor Month!

Did you know that the Greater Kansas City area hasn’t had a healthy and stable blood supply for nearly three years? And we’re not alone. Blood centers across the country, and even the globe, are experiencing record low numbers of blood donations. Even prior to the pandemic, our country was already facing a looming public health issue: a lack of blood donors.

#GiveLifeKC, an awareness campaign launching January 2023, aims to put an end to blood shortages in Kansas City. This campaign will focus on increasing awareness about the important and consistent need for blood donations in our region.

To find out how you can help #GiveLifeKC go to: https://www.savealifenow.org/givelifekc/

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TAKE ACTION TO HELP END GUN VIOLENCE WITH EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY AND MOMS DEMAND ACTION MO

Every day, more than 110 people in America are killed with guns. We’re counting on people like you to take actions that will help us pass common-sense laws and implement policies that will save lives. Find actions you can take now to help end gun violence: https://www.everytown.org/actions/

Action is the counterweight to apathy. We can reclaim our safety and save lives by taking action to end gun violence. Join Moms Demand Action volunteers in Missouri who are working to make our communities safer by texting READY to 644-33.

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THANK YOU! for answering the Missouri Mondays CALL TO ACTION!

Invite your friends and neighbors to join us and sign up for Missouri Action Alliance and this Missouri Mondays email at moactionalliance.com/signup

Follow us on Twitter at @MissouriAction, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MOActionAlliance and check out our website at http://www.MOActionAlliance.com


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