01/16/23 Missouri Mondays - Honoring MLK with service and continuing his work for economic justice..
civil rights, voting rights, and protecting democracy!
Welcome to another Missouri Mondays! As we remember and celebrate the remarkable life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. let us also honor him with continued action. “Nothing is guaranteed in our democracy,” President Biden said at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Sunday. “We know there’s a lot of work that has to continue on economic justice, civil rights, voting rights and protecting our democracy.”
We must keep fighting for the things that matter and make sure we hold our elected officials accountable. Find your legislator by entering your address here: https://www.senate.mo.gov/legislookup/default. Help us spread the word to get involved and sign up for Missouri Mondays updates here: https://www.moactionalliance.com/signup
MISSOURI IN THE NEWS
Missouri House makes national news for new dress code requiring women to cover arms.
“The Missouri House of Representatives proposed a bill Wednesday that would restrict women’s dress code in the state’s House, but would not tighten the dress code for men, eventually passing a version of the bill calling for women to cover their arms.
The dress code was updated from 2021, in which women could wear “dresses or skirts or slacks worn with a blazer or sweater and appropriate dress shoes or boots,” to now state that proper attire for women in the House would be “jackets worn with dresses, skirts, or slacks, and dress shoes or boots.”
The legislation was proposed by Rep. Ann Kelley (R) and was met with firm opposition from Democrats.
Missouri state Rep. Raychel Proudie (D) called the motion “ridiculous” while speaking on the House floor, adding, “We are fighting — again — on a woman’s right to choose something and this time is how she covers herself,” according to Heartland Signal.
“Do you know what it feels like to have a bunch of men in this room looking at your top trying to decide whether it’s appropriate or not?” state Rep. Ashley Aune (D) said on the state House floor, according to Heartland Signal, before going on to criticize the motion further as “ridiculous.”
“Other Democrats weighed in on Twitter: “The caucus that lost their minds over the suggestion that they should wear masks during a pandemic … is now spending its time focusing on the fine details of what women have to wear (specifically how to cover their arms) to show respect here,” state Rep. Peter Meredith tweeted.”
“Gov. Parson proposes raise for Missouri state employees, extra pay for night work”
“State workers would get their biggest pay raise in living memory under a plan proposed Wednesday by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson.
In a news release, Parson said he wants to boost all state workers by 8.7% and to offer a $2 an hour night shift differential to employees in four agencies responsible for people under the care of the state.
Parson is asking lawmakers to pass a supplemental appropriations bill by March 1 so that the raises are included in paychecks issued at the end of the month.”
“The Democratic leader of the Missouri House, Rep. Crystal Quade of Springfield, said in a statement that Parson’s pay raise plan should go further.
“As a starting point, the governor’s proposed pay raise for state employees has merit,” Quade said in a news release. “But it isn’t nearly enough to end Missouri’s sorry status of having the worst average state worker pay in the nation.”
“Agape Boarding School will close its doors this month after years of abuse allegations”
“Agape Boarding School, the Stockton-based Christian residential facility under scrutiny for alleged abuse of its students over decades, announced it will shut down Jan. 20.
According to a statement provided to The Independent Wednesday afternoon by John Schultz, an attorney for Agape, the school has “made the decision to stop providing services to the boys in its care.”
“Agape’s decision to close is voluntary,” Schultz said, “and solely due to the lack of financial resources to continue caring for the boys.”
The closure is long-awaited for dozens of former students who have gone public with their allegations of physical, mental, and sexual abuse at Agape, which opened in Missouri in 1996 and has, for the last few years, been at the forefront of the state’s reckoning over abuse allegations at unlicensed faith-based boarding schools.
Allen Knoll, a former student and advocate, said he is “ecstatic for all of the survivors that have fought for so long bringing this issue to the forefront,” and called the news a “huge deal, after two and a half years of fighting.”
“Lee’s Summit school district’s countersuit against Missouri AG seeks to set a precedent”
“The Lee’s Summit R-VII School District spent $72,824 last year fighting the Missouri Attorney General’s office.
It is the last district standing in an onslaught of civil suits former Attorney General Eric Schmitt brought against school districts who enforced mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly all the lawsuits were dismissed, most at the request of the attorney general. Schmitt — who left office last week after he was sworn into the U.S. Senate — tried to drop the suit against Lee’s Summit as well. But the district had already filed a countersuit seeking to establish the extent of the attorney general’s authority over local school districts.
There are no hearings yet on the case calendar as filings ping pong between sides.
Chuck Hatfield, a longtime Jefferson City attorney who previously served in the attorney general’s office under Democrat Jay Nixon, said the case could establish an important precedent.
“The biggest issue that Lee’s Summit is getting at is, do we or do we not have the authority to control our own district?” he said. “That’s what they’re really trying to get to, and they want the court to tell them.”
https://missouriindependent.com/2023/01/12/lees-summit-countersuit/ Missouri Independent Jan 12
“Scott Fitzpatrick says COVID relief, school spending will be focus as Missouri auditor”
“Newly inaugurated State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick said Monday that auditing federal COVID-19 relief funds and how local school districts spend money will be his top priorities during the coming four years.
Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Shell Knob in southwest Missouri, was sworn in at noon Monday to replace Nicole Galloway, a Democrat who did not seek re-election after two terms as auditor. Fitzpatrick was state treasurer until he was sworn into his new job, and was elected four times to the Missouri House.
The massive federal COVID-19 spending through state and local governments needs to be monitored and reviewed, Fitizpatrick said.
“This explosion of spending at all levels of government has made it easier and more likely for taxpayer money to be wasted, misappropriated or even stolen,” he said.
With the inauguration of Fitzpatrick, Republicans hold all statewide elective offices for the first time since just after the Civil War.”
“What to know about MOScholars, the state program providing scholarships for private schools”
“In late December, the Missouri treasurer’s office announced that more than 1,000 K-12 students had received scholarships to leave their local public schools through a state-sponsored program.
The MOScholars program leverages tax credits to attract donations that allow students to attend private schools — including ones that are religiously affiliated — and other options such as home schools.
It launched last summer after being approved by the legislature in 2021.
This year, several lawmakers are attempting to expand the program, which could continue to grow even without further action from the legislature. The efforts are part of a movement to make it easier for families to leave their local public school districts — a popular topic of legislation so far in 2023.”
Full story here including how the MOScholars program works, who receives funds and who decides which schools participate: https://kcbeacon.org/stories/2023/01/11/moscholars-scholarships-for-private-schools/ The Kansas City Beacon Jan 11
“U.S. to hit debt limit much sooner than expected, thrusting Congress into showdown”
“The U.S. government will hit its borrowing limit next week, forcing the new, divided Congress into negotiations over the debt limit much sooner than expected, though a potential date for the nation to default isn’t expected until this summer.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote to Congress on Friday afternoon, telling leaders the United States will hit the debt ceiling on Jan. 19, after which she’ll use accounting maneuvers, which she called “extraordinary measures,” to keep U.S. finances up and running for a few months.
Yellen urged the Republican House and Democratic Senate to get to work on a bipartisan debt limit bill quickly, writing it is “critical that Congress act in a timely manner.” The January date is much sooner than the third quarter of this year, the preliminary estimate the Bipartisan Policy Center released last June.
“Failure to meet the government’s obligations would cause irreparable harm to the U.S. economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability,” Yellen wrote. “Indeed, in the past, even threats that the U.S. government might fail to meet its obligations have caused real harms, including the only credit rating downgrade in the history of our nation in 2011.”
Full story and Q & A on U.S. debt limit https://missouriindependent.com/2023/01/13/u-s-to-hit-debt-limit-much-sooner-than-expected-thrusting-congress-into-showdown/ Missouri Independent Jan 13
“U.S. House Republicans push through two anti-abortion measures in first work week”
“The U.S. House on Wednesday approved its first abortion-related measures under a new Republican majority, eliciting strong support from GOP members and opposition from Democrats, who rejected the legislation as misleading and incomplete.
Republicans, who secured a four-seat majority during the November midterm elections, said the bill setting medical standards on a national level for a baby born after an attempted abortion and a resolution condemning violence against anti-abortion organizations are central to the party’s ideals.
Democrats contended the medical standards bill from GOP Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri would circumvent health care providers’ medical judgment.
“Despite what its supporters would have us believe, this legislation would do nothing to enhance protections or the quality of health care if an infant is born after an attempted abortion,” New York Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler said during floor debate.
“What it would do, however, is directly interfere with a doctor’s medical judgment and dictate a medical standard of care that may not be appropriate in all circumstances, which could in fact put infants’ lives at greater risk,” Nadler added.”
“Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Madeleine Dean urged the House to reject the bill, saying Republicans were either unaware infanticide was an already existing crime or engaged in “another extreme political stunt.”
“Politicians have no business making unsound medical decisions. We are legislators, not doctors,” Dean said. “And in the unfortunate case when a child is born with fatal disabilities, this legislation will deny parents a say in how their child spends the final minutes, hours or days of his or her life — whether hooked up to a medical device or in the arms of his parents.”
“Biden honors Martin Luther King Jr with sermon: ‘His legacy shows us the way’”
“Joe Biden marked what would have been Martin Luther King Jr’s 94th birthday with a sermon on Sunday at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, celebrating the legacy of the civil rights leader while speaking about the urgent need to protect US democracy.
Biden said he was “humbled” to become the first sitting president to give the Sunday sermon at King’s church, also describing the experience as “intimidating”.
“I believe Dr King’s life and legacy show us the way and we should pay attention,” Biden said. He later noted he was wearing rosary beads his son, Beau, wore as he died.
“I doubt whether any of us would have thought during Dr King’s time that literally the institutional structures of this country might collapse, like we’re seeing in Brazil, we’re seeing in other parts of the world,” Biden said.
In a sermon that lasted around 25 minutes, the president spoke about the continued need to protect democracy. Unlike some of his other speeches on the topic, Biden did not mention Donald Trump or Republicans directly.
The GOP has embraced new voting restrictions, including in Georgia, and defended the former president’s role in the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January.
“Nothing is guaranteed in our democracy,” Biden said. “We know there’s a lot of work that has to continue on economic justice, civil rights, voting rights and protecting our democracy.”
CHECK OUT OUR MISSOURI MONDAYS NEWS SUPPLEMENT!
With so much important news each week we don’t want you to miss a thing!
Check out our MISSOURI MONDAYS NEWS SUPPLEMENT here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13cokjWlCh2EkY5K6bM357rjVPizZDzxlMqjAuoBQfoI/edit?usp=sharing
MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR THESE UPCOMING ACTIONS AND EVENTS
HONOR MLK IN KANSAS CITY
The Southern Christian Leadership Council of Greater KC (SCLC-GKC)
2023 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mass Celebration and Community Forum
Monday, January 16
Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church
2310 E Linwood Blvd
Kansas City, MO
The Southern Christian Leadership Council of Greater Kansas City is hosting its annual 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. This year’s theme is reparations for Black Kansas Citians. The forum will feature a panel of speakers, including The Star’s assistant managing editor for race and equity Mará Rose Williams, 3rd District KCMO Councilwoman Melissa Robinson, and more. Details here: https://www.sclcgkc.org/
LINWOOD YMCA MLK DAY OF SERVICE
Monday January 16
10AM - 1PM
3800 E Linwood Blvd
Kansas City, MO
Kids and families can volunteer together during this day of service. Volunteers will be packing hygiene kits and making sandwiches to distribute to neighbors in need. Lunch will be provided. In addition to volunteering, you can donate items like toothpaste, tampons and deodorant for the kits.
Find more MLK events in KC here: https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article271015412.html
TAKE ACTION WITH THE MISSOURI VOTER PROTECTION COALITION (MOVPC)
TO PROTECT THE RIGHT TO VOTE
Join the MOVPC meeting MONDAY JAN 23 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!
Democratic Legislative Network Monday Night Call
Every Monday night
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
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.
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.
FIND MORE UPCOMING ACTIONS AND EVENTS here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/19AZUdtRH5WXefOC4Q5D9u-HyuzhBEL8rYX9Ospn3n18/edit?usp=sharing
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