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11/20/23 Missouri Mondays - MO Photo ID law back in court; Jay Ashcroft further delays

Jay Ashcroft further delays abortion petition; Remembering First Lady Rosalynn Carter; Giving thanks for you and all you do!




On this Missouri Monday, we first pause to remember the remarkable life and legacy of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who died peacefully yesterday at home at the age of 96. “Guided by her abiding faith and her commitment to service, Mrs. Carter used her platform in profoundly meaningful ways. Her groundbreaking work to combat the stigma faced by those struggling with their mental health brought light to so many suffering in silence. She advocated for better care for the elderly. She advanced women’s rights. And she remained a champion for those causes — and many others like building affordable housing for those in need and caring for our nation’s caregivers — in the more than four decades that followed.” Michelle Obama Twitter (X) Nov 19


This week we are watching with great interest the trial in Cole County challenging Missouri’s photo ID law. Voting rights champions –The Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, Missouri ACLU, Missouri League of Women Voters, and the NAACP – are suing on behalf of plaintiffs and asking the judge to once again find the photo ID requirement unconstitutional. This is “the third time Missouri courts have weighed the merits of a law intended to combat fraud against right to vote without interference.” Missouri Independent Nov 15


Republican Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Jay Ashcroft, is staying very busy fighting against Missourians in court. He’s the defendant in the MO photo ID lawsuit, AND is further delaying the abortion petition process by appealing the ballot summary ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court. “For the ballot initiatives, the Supreme Court will be the final step in a process that began in March. Anna Fitz-James, a St. Louis physician, filed 11 proposed constitutional amendments with Ashcroft’s office in March on behalf of a political action committee called Missourians for Constitutional Freedom.” Missouri Independent Nov 17


Thanks for staying informed and taking action each week! We wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and send our heartfelt thanks for all you do to fight for democracy and protect our rights and freedoms. Together we make a difference! Help us spread the word and share this link to sign up for Missouri Mondays weekly email https://bit.ly/3pF99Uw.


 

UPCOMING EVENTS - ACTIONS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE


TAKE ACTION WITH THE MISSOURI VOTER PROTECTION COALITION (MOVPC)

TO PROTECT THE RIGHT TO VOTE


**NO MEETING TODAY NOV 20 - SEE YOU NEXT MON NOV 27**

Join the MOVPC weekly online 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!


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Trans Day of Remembrance: Vigil and Celebration of Life

TONIGHT Monday, November 20

All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church

4501 Walnut St.

Kansas City, MO 64110

Doors open at 4:30pm. Program starts at 5pm and vigil at 5:45pm.


Join us in remembrance of our trans siblings lost to hate and violence. Due to the high likelihood of rain, we are changing our physical location on Monday for TDOR to host it at All Souls Unitarian Church. We are grateful to the team at All Souls Unitarian Church for being an exception and providing a welcoming space for our trans community on last-minute notice. It is important to acknowledge that churches and places of worship have not always been welcoming and safe for LGBTQ individuals. When we found out that the event was likely to be rained out at Gillham Park, the team at All Souls opened their doors and offered their space free of charge. We appreciate their generosity and inclusiveness towards the LGBTQ community. We look forward to seeing everyone on Monday. 💕


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Missouri Independent #GivingNewsday November 28


🗞️ You've likely heard of Giving Tuesday. Well, at The Independent we celebrate an important variation: #GivingNewsday! On Nov. 28, we hope you will choose to support the largest newsroom in Missouri that's focused exclusively on covering state government, politics and policy.


Missouri Independent is a nonprofit news operation that depends on support from people like you to produce high-quality journalism without advertising, subscription fees or paywalls.


Please help us with this public service. Your donations allow us to expand our coverage, purchase equipment and fight for open records.


Your donation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Visit https://missouriindependent.com/donate/ for more information.


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TELL YOUR MO STATE REPRESENTATIVE TO SUPPORT THE HOUSE ETHICS INVESTIGATION INTO SPEAKER DEAN PLOCHER!


As reported October 23 by the Missouri Independent, on at least nine occasions since 2018, Rep. Dean Plocher spent campaign money on travel and conference expenses. THEN, Plocher sought reimbursement from the legislature despite declaring he had used personal funds to pay for the trips. Seeking double reimbursement could violate state and federal law and shows Plocher has a pattern of unethical behavior. This coupled with earlier reporting that House Speaker Plocher threatened a state worker who sounded the alarm on his relentless push for a prohibitively expensive constituent communications software – garnering attention from the FBI – reveals a disturbing pattern of Plocher’s disregard for the law.


The Missouri House Ethics Committee began an inquiry into Speaker Plocher’s personnel moves and other disturbing actions. Tell your state representative to support the House Ethics investigation into Dean Plocher!


Search for your representative and contact information here: https://www.senate.mo.gov/LegisLookup/Default


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Meet Crystal Quade Democratic Candidate for Missouri Governor


“Growing up in rural Missouri, young Crystal Quade made the trek before daylight every morning to help her mom prepare the diner where she worked double or triple shifts waitressing.


They lived in a small house on a gravel road, and Crystal was the first in her family to graduate from high school. She worked her way through Missouri State, began her own family – and then became the Democratic Leader of the Missouri House of Representatives.


Crystal is leading our most important fights to restore our abortion rights, standing up to the biggest corporate special interests, and stopping China and Russia from buying up our farmland and squeezing Missouri farmers out.


Crystal will take on extremist Jay Ashcroft, who says he will ban abortion forever, and give more tax breaks to the wealthiest and most privileged families like the one he grew up in.


If you are looking for a new kind of leader, who will stand up for our working and farming families – meet Crystal Quade.”



Support Crystal's Campaign for Missouri's Future: https://crystalquade.com/


The Heartland Pod Interview with Rep. Crystal Quade https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJwbn8m4_q8

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NOVEMBER IS NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH!


What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.


Find Native American Heritage Month events, exhibits, performances and more celebrating the rich traditions, languages, and contributions of Indigenous people



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Missouri in the News

“Challenge to Missouri voter ID law focuses on barriers faced by the elderly, disabled - A trial starting Friday November 17 will be the third time Missouri courts have weighed the merits of a law intended to combat fraud against right to vote without interference”


“Missouri’s requirement for voters to show government-issued photo identification before casting a ballot will be on trial starting Friday November 17.


Over four days, Cole County Circuit Judge John Beetem will hear familiar arguments that the law passed in 2022 unconstitutionally restricts the right to vote by imposing burdens that disenfranchise large numbers of people. In 2006 and 2020, Missouri courts struck down photo ID requirements for voting as violations of the state’s constitution.


Denise Lieberman, director of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, said the law being challenged now makes it even harder to vote for people who have difficulties obtaining the necessary identification.


“The current law is more strict than the version struck down in the previous cases,” Lieberman said.


Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who is the defendant in the case because of his role overseeing state elections, was not available for comment Wednesday.”


“The main purpose of a voter ID law, proponents contend, is to prevent fraud at the polls. Such laws, the state argues in its legal filings, “protect the fundamental right to vote by deterring difficult to detect forms of voter fraud.”


The only type of voter fraud that a voter ID law prevents is in-person fraud at the polls, which is almost non-existent, attorneys for the plaintiffs wrote.


“Because the voter ID restrictions offer no discernable protection against voter fraud while imposing significant burdens upon voters—disenfranchising many in the process—there is no rational basis for them,” plaintiffs’ attorneys wrote, “they cannot be upheld under even the most deferential standard, let alone the strict scrutiny that properly applies.”



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“Missouri’s voter ID law is back in court. Here’s a look at what it does”


“A trial for a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Missouri’s new photo identification requirement for voters is scheduled to begin Friday. Here is a look at the function of the law and why voting rights groups are suing:


WHAT THE LAW DOES

Missouri’s GOP-led Legislature last year capped off a nearly two-decade-long push by Republicans and passed a law requiring voters to show photo identification to cast a regular ballot.


People without a government-issued photo ID can cast provisional ballots to be counted if they return later that day with a photo ID or if election officials verify their signatures. The law requires the state to provide a free photo identification card to those lacking one to vote.


LEGAL CHALLENGES

The Missouri League of Women Voters, NAACP and two voters sued to overturn the law last year, arguing the change makes casting ballots unconstitutionally difficult for some voters.


Cole County Presiding Judge Jon Beetem, who also will hear arguments in the trial beginning Friday, dismissed the case in October 2022. He found neither of the two voters “alleged a specific, concrete, non-speculative injury or legally protectable interest in challenging the photo ID requirement.”


The Missouri ACLU and Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, who sued on behalf of the plaintiffs, have since added another voter to the lawsuit and asked Beetem again to find the voter ID requirement unconstitutional.


ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE LAW

The newest plaintiff is John O’Connor, a 90-year-old Columbia, Missouri, resident with poor vision who needs help walking. When the law took effect last year, O’Connor had an expired passport and driver’s license, which are not acceptable forms of identification to vote under state law.


His lawyers argued he eventually obtained a non-driver’s license with the help of his wife, but only because officials accepted his expired driver’s license despite guidance from the state Revenue Department that long-expired licenses are not acceptable records to use when seeking new IDs.


“Even when a voter obtains the underlying documentation, voters who lack transportation, cannot get to the DMV or other government agencies during their hours of operation, or have a disability or impairment that prevents them from accessing a DMV, the voter is still unable to surmount the burdens to obtaining a photo ID,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers wrote in a pretrial brief.”


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“Jay Ashcroft to appeal abortion ballot summary ruling to Missouri Supreme Court”


“Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft will try again to salvage the ballot summary he wrote for abortion rights initiative petitions with an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court.


Ashcroft’s language has been savaged in opinions from two courts, most recently when the Western District Court of Appeals ruled his summaries are “replete with politically partisan language.”


“As Ashcroft was preparing to file an appeal Thursday, a separate effort to restore abortion rights was playing out in a St. Louis courtroom. Circuit Judge Jason Sengheiser heard arguments in a case seeking to overturn Missouri’s abortion ban as a violation of religious rights.


For the ballot initiatives, the Supreme Court will be the final step in a process that began in March. Anna Fitz-James, a St. Louis physician, filed 11 proposed constitutional amendments with Ashcroft’s office in March on behalf of a political action committee called Missourians for Constitutional Freedom.”



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“Lawyers for religious leaders challenging Missouri abortion ban say law imposes beliefs on everyone”


“Missouri lawmakers intended to “impose their religious beliefs on everyone” in the state when they passed a restrictive abortion ban, lawyers for a group of religious leaders who support abortion rights said at a court hearing Thursday.


But attorneys for the state countered that just because some supporters of the law oppose abortion on religious grounds doesn’t mean that the law forces their beliefs on anyone else.


Thirteen Christian, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist leaders filed suit in January seeking a permanent injunction barring Missouri from enforcing its abortion law and a declaration that provisions violate the Missouri Constitution. Thursday’s hearing in St. Louis concerned the state’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. Judge Jason Sengheiser said he’ll likely rule in January.”


“The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the faith leaders by Americans United for Separation of Church & State and the National Women’s Law Center, said sponsors and supporters of the Missouri measure “repeatedly emphasized their religious intent in enacting the legislation.”


The lawsuit quotes the bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Nick Schroer, as saying that “as a Catholic I do believe life begins at conception and that is built into our legislative findings.” A co-sponsor, Republican state Rep. Barry Hovis, said he was motivated “from the Biblical side of it,” according to the lawsuit.


“We know this has a religious purpose because when the lawmakers passed the law 2019, they told us that,” said K.M. Bell, an attorney for the plaintiffs.


But Maria Lanahan, Missouri’s deputy solicitor general, told the judge that lawmakers had varying reasons for supporting the law. She said that while the abortion ban “was in harmony” with the religious beliefs of some members of the Legislature, no one was “compelled to support any system of worship.”



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National News


“Rosalynn Carter, mental health activist, humanitarian and former first lady, dies at 96”


“Rosalynn Carter, who as first lady worked tirelessly on behalf of mental health reform and professionalized the role of the president’s spouse, died Sunday at the age of 96, according to The Carter Center.


Rosalynn Carter passed away peacefully with family by her side at her home in Plains, Georgia, the center said in a statement.


“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, said. “She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”


“The Carters redefined and revolutionized the post-presidency and, through their joint efforts, they worked on world peace and human rights on behalf of The Carter Center, a nongovernmental Atlanta-based organization founded to “wage peace, fight disease and build hope.”

“She was the first first lady to work out of the East Wing. Before her, first ladies worked from an office on the second or third floors of the White House in the family’s private residence. And under her watch, full-time positions in the East Wing grew by almost 20%.” “As first lady she fought for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have amended the Constitution to outlaw civil rights discrimination based on sex.”


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Courts, state officials hesitate to keep Trump off 2024 ballots –

Legal scholars and nonpartisan groups argue he engaged in ‘insurrection’ and should be disqualified”


“Some scholars say a little-known, Civil War-era provision in the U.S. Constitution should prohibit former President Donald Trump from appearing on state ballots in next year’s presidential election. But it seems increasingly unlikely that he will be disqualified.


Courts in Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey and elsewhere are considering whether Trump engaged in insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, and should, therefore, be kept off the 2024 primary and general election presidential ballots. But two months before the first primary, it’s a question with no clear consensus among legal scholars, and one that state election officials have been hesitant to weigh and that courts have been reluctant to entertain.


“It’s only going to have real meaning if it goes to the courts,” said David Becker, founder and executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, a nonpartisan organization that advises local election officials nationwide.


“There’s also a very understandable reluctance of courts to put themselves between the voters and their choices,” he said. “And there’s going to be a very, very high bar that needs to be met for a court to say we’re going to take this choice out of the hands of voters.”



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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


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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.

Follow us on X (formerly 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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