09/04/23 Missouri Mondays - Honor Missouri workers with action! Help gather signatures!!
Help gather signatures to raise the minimum wage and allow earned sick time!
Welcome to another Missouri Mondays!
It’s Labor Day, the time to honor and celebrate workers and the American labor movement’s contributions to our nation. “The Department of the Treasury released a first-of-its-kind report that finds that unions help grow the economy by reducing inequality, raising incomes, increasing savings (including retirement savings), and broadening homeownership. According to the report, which was released as part of the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris, union members make higher wages and are more likely to earn critical benefits like retirement, health care, child care, life insurance, and sick leave. The report also finds that all workers—even non-union workers and workers who have been laid off—experience gains from greater unionization.” Fact Sheet U.S. Dept of the Treasury: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy1706
Unfortunately the reality facing so many hard-working Missourians not represented by unions is having to choose between their paycheck and their family's health. That’s why the Missourians for Healthy Families and Fair Wages needs your help collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to gradually raise Missouri’s minimum wage to $15 by 2026 and allow employees to earn paid time off to care for themselves and loved ones. Sign up to volunteer here: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/pledge-your-support-for-fair-wages-and-earned-sick-time
Thank you for staying informed and taking action with other pro-Democracy, pro-worker allies across Missouri!
Help us spread the word and share this link to sign up for Missouri Mondays weekly email https://bit.ly/3pF99Uw.
UPCOMING EVENTS - WHAT YOU CAN DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
TAKE ACTION WITH THE MISSOURI VOTER PROTECTION COALITION (MOVPC)
TO PROTECT THE RIGHT TO VOTE
**NO MEETING TODAY MON SEPT 4
IN OBSERVANCE OF THE LABOR DAY HOLIDAY**
Join the MOVPC weekly meeting MONDAYS 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 the necessary 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!
The Women in Politics Foundation
Champagne Brunch to launch the new Smithson Endowment Fund Advocating for Reproductive Rights - "Reclaiming Rights in the Red States"
Saturday, September 9th, 2023
The Simpson House
4509 Walnut St
Kansas City, MO 64111
Please join the Women in Politics Foundation for the launch of the Smithson Endowment Fund with a Champagne Brunch and "Reclaiming Rights in the Red States" program. The Smithson Endowment Fund is in honor of our founder, Rosemary Smithson, and was formed to advocate for reproductive rights.
Hon. Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County Prosecutor
Ophelia Griffen, UMKC Student Body President
Ryana Parks-Shaw, Kansas City MO Mayor Pro Tem
Erin Thompson, General Counsel for Planned Parenthood Great Plains
2023 Abortion Action Missouri Gala
Friday, September 29, 2023 @ 6:00 PM
3224 Locust St
Saint Louis, MO 63103
RSVP here by Sept 15: bit.ly/AAMgala
It is time once again for Pro-Choice Missouri's annual Auction & Gala. But wait! Something's a little different this year. That's right – Pro-Choice Missouri is now officially Abortion Action Missouri! Join us as we celebrate our new name as well as the generosity of our supporters, hear from inspiring speakers, present awards to champions of reproductive freedom in our community, and raise critical funds to rebuild abortion in Missouri. We want Missouri's anti-abortion politicians to know that their continued attacks on our bodily autonomy have not broken our collective spirit. Let's show them that Abortion Action Missouri isn't going anywhere, and that we will continue to loudly and proudly advocate for liberated abortion access and reproductive freedom in our state.
Along with our new name and organizational identity, we're trying something a little different for Gala this year. In lieu of a seated dinner, the event will begin with a cocktail party and then move into our awards and speakers program. This means more uninterrupted schmooze time with your friends, more time to peruse the silent auction, and more yummy appetizers!
Registration Deadline: Friday, September 15th
HELP SUPPORT AND ELECT MISSOURI HOUSE DEMOCRATS
Get involved! Join the MO Democratic Legislative Network!
The Democratic Legislative Network is building a community of dedicated activists to support our ideals, our message and our candidates in Missouri. Get involved in your area: https://www.mohousedems.com/get-involved
Make a donation!
Every. Election. Matters. Every gift can help.
Donate today and help us keep building the infrastructure needed to recruit, train, and support local candidates in 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.
Donate here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/mhd-donate-now
FIND EVENTS AND MORE WAYS TO GET INVOLVED HERE: https://docs.google.com/document/d/19AZUdtRH5WXefOC4Q5D9u-HyuzhBEL8rYX9Ospn3n18/edit?usp=sharing
Missouri in the News
“Missouri groups look for the strongest abortion-rights ballot measure voters would back”
The fight over the Missouri abortion ban begins with language.
Eager to once again legalize the procedure in the state after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year made way for the General Assembly to ban it, abortion-rights supporters have been floating 11 versions of a petition to ask voters for a change in November 2024.
They submitted those would-be changes to the state constitution to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to sort out what sort of summary could actually show up on ballots.
Ashcroft, a Republican abortion opponent and 2024 candidate for governor, crafted ballot language that supporters found misleading and designed to sink petitions in a public vote. His office’s summaries seemed to invite a challenge that would delay for months any group’s ability to circulate petitions.
The physician who filed the petitions has sued Ashcroft and will face off with his office at a court hearing on Sept. 11.
Meanwhile, abortion-rights groups fight over language themselves while they look for the strongest changes they can make and still convince a majority of Missouri voters to cast “yes” ballots.
Of the 11 versions of the petition submitted to Ashcroft, abortion-rights supporters appear focused on six of them.
One would promise the right to abortion flat out. The others would give state lawmakers room to regulate. Three versions would let the General Assembly ban abortion after fetal viability (a point that’s coming earlier in pregnancy with medical advances). Two other versions would protect the right of abortion at least up to 24 weeks of gestation, three weeks before the end of the second trimester.
In the summary written by his office for the 11 different abortion rights initiative petition proposals, Ashcroft says the measures will allow for “dangerous, unregulated abortions” without requiring a medical license. If the summary language remains unchanged, things like sample ballots would show voters only Ashcroft’s summary, not the full text of the amendment.
Read Secy of State Ashcroft’s proposed summaries here: https://www.sos.mo.gov/petitions/2024IPcirculation#2024082
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s proposed summary ballot language. A judge will rule shortly after Sept. 11 whether or not the language could be misleading to voters.
Ashcroft contends the petitions are misleadingly worded to hide the extent of what abortion-rights passage would mean.
“My office is committed to protecting voters from misinformation,” he said in an Aug. 18 op-ed in The Missouri Times, a conservative website.
In a lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union accused the secretary of state of politicizing what should be essentially a bookkeeping role.
“Missourians want the right to make personal decisions about their reproductive health care … free from government interference,” ACLU spokesperson Tom Bastian said in a statement to The Beacon. “Out-of-touch politicians (want) to suppress the right to vote on reproductive rights.”
Dr. Anna Fitz-James submitted the 11 original petitions to the secretary of state. The ACLU of Missouri is litigating the case in state courts.
The competing Missouri abortion legalization proposals
All the versions of the “Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative” start with similar language and lay out broad abortion rights.
They would promise “the right to make and carry out decisions about all matters relating to reproductive health care, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, abortion care, miscarriage care, and respectful birthing conditions.”
That mimics language that passed in Michigan and that voters in Ohio will consider in November.
The Missouri petitions lay out broad access to abortion. Kathryn Abrams, a law professor and social organizing researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, spent eight months interviewing abortion-rights organizers in Missouri.
The question at hand, she said, was whether the recent past should be the “ceiling or the floor” for Missouri abortion rights.
She said discussions among the activist groups behind the proposals centered around whether to return Missouri to something like when Roe v. Wade — the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized abortion in 1973, and got reversed last year — was the law. Or whether to ask voters for stronger abortion rights.
“A lot of groups in the state …said Roe was never more than the floor,” Abrams said.”
Full story here: https://missouriindependent.com/2023/08/28/missouri-groups-look-for-the-strongest-abortion-rights-ballot-measure-voters-would-back/ Missouri Independent Aug 28
“Pile of public records requests swells as Missouri AG works through stack from 2021”
“Slow response renews scrutiny over how the attorney general handles enforcing state transparency laws overall”
“The Missouri attorney general’s office crossed an ignominious milestone last week. Nearly nine months after taking office, Attorney General Andrew Bailey and his staff finally completed work on public records requests submitted in 2021.”
“For example, The Independent requested three days of the attorney general’s official calendar last week. Government agencies typically turn over those records within days of a request being filed. Bailey’s office says the records won’t be made public until March 25, 2024.
“How does the attorney general explain that his office cannot meet the demand for services it is supposed to provide?” said Jean Maneke, an attorney for the Missouri Press Association. “When an office holder says, ‘we are overwhelmed by requests that we are required by state law to answer,’ it would seem to be an indication that the office holder isn’t in control of procedures within that office.”
Full story here: https://missouriindependent.com/2023/08/29/pile-of-public-records-requests-swells-as-missouri-ag-works-through-stack-from-2021/ Missouri Independent Aug 29
“Missouri advocates decry proposed change to at-home disability care funding”
“The state is moving forward to change how it calculates payment rates for its self-directed supports program — a situation families say took them by surprise and that they fear could mean rates for caretakers are frozen at low levels or become unpredictable”
“Nearly 40 years ago, Victoria McMullen and her husband traveled from St. Louis to Sikeston to adopt a six-year-old boy with severe developmental disabilities named Ron.
Now 44, Ron has cerebral palsy, autism and intellectual disabilities. He’s unable to live independently and for the last 23 years his parents have relied on a state service to help pay for in-home caregivers to provide the intensive assistance he needs.
The service, called self-directed supports, lets McMullen hire, train and manage the staff herself, tailoring the help to Ron’s needs. Caretakers, many of them local university students, work with Ron 13 hours a day, helping him go to the bathroom, do physical therapy, bathe and dress, as well as doing social activities with him like cooking.
Without that funding, McMullen would be unable to care for him, especially after a back injury left her unable to physically support or help lift him.
Sarah, a personal assistant hired through self-directed supports, who is a graduate student in occupational therapy, massages Ron McMullen’s feet and helps with his physical therapy, August 2023 (photo submitted).
“We could not do it without it negatively impacting our health,” she said.
This year, McMullen wrote to state lawmakers urging them to put more money into pay for direct care workers who assist those with developmental disabilities.
The staff hired through self-directed supports, as well as through traditional home health agencies, desperately need a pay bump, she said, noting one of Ron’s caregivers works 40 hours a week, needs to buy her own insurance and rarely can afford to take time off.
She was pleased in May when the legislature voted to raise the rates for caregivers. But the good news quickly soured.
Missouri’s Department of Mental Health announced in July that the program Ron and 3,030 individuals around the state rely on could be excluded from the rate increase.
Complicating matters even more, state regulators have proposed a change in how it calculates rates for the self-directed supports program, a situation advocates fear could mean rates are frozen at low levels or become unpredictable.
The proposed change in the rate calculation is open for public comment until Monday. It would remove the regulation linking the rate the state pays for direct services to the rate they pay home health agencies.”
Full story here: https://missouriindependent.com/2023/08/31/missouri-advocates-decry-proposed-change-to-at-home-disability-care-funding/ Missouri Independent Aug 31
Regional and National News
President Biden announces the first drugs eligible for Medicare price negotiations
“The Biden administration on Tuesday released its list of 10 prescription medicines that will be subject to the first-ever price negotiations by the U.S. Medicare health program that covers 66 million people, with big-selling blood thinner Eliquis from Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY.N) and Pfizer (PFE.N) among them.
President Joe Biden’s signature Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed into law last year, allows Medicare to negotiate prices for some of its most costly drugs.
"Today is the start of a new deal for patients,” Biden said at a White House event, adding that Americans often pay two to three times more than other countries for the same drugs.
Once implemented, the prices on negotiated drugs will decrease for up to 9 million seniors who currently pay as much as $6,497 in out-of-pocket costs per year for these prescriptions, Biden said.
Medicare, which mostly serves Americans aged 65 and over, pays twice as much for drugs than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which already negotiates drug prices, he said.”
“For far too long, Americans have paid more for prescription drugs than any major economy. And while the pharmaceutical industry makes record profits, millions of Americans are forced to choose between paying for medications they need to live or paying for food, rent, and other basic necessities. Those days are ending,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Tuesday.”
Full story here: https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/us-name-first-10-drugs-medicare-price-negotiation-2023-08-29/ Reuters Aug 29
Additional information here: https://missouriindependent.com/briefs/biden-administration-chooses-first-10-drugs-for-medicare-price-negotiations/ Missouri Independent Aug 29
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
THANK YOU! for staying informed and taking action to make a difference!
Invite your friends and neighbors to join us and sign up for Missouri Action Alliance and this Missouri Mondays weekly email at https://bit.ly/3pF99Uw.