11/28/22 Missouri Mondays - You can make a difference this week! Take action for a better Missouri!
Welcome to another Missouri Mondays! We have so much work still to do for a better Missouri and nation for all! Thank you for staying informed and taking action to make a difference this week!
MISSOURI IN THE NEWS
Governor Parson picks staffer Andrew Bailey to replace Eric Schmitt as Missouri Attorney General
“The governor is picking a new attorney general for the second time, after Eric Schmitt won a seat in the U.S. Senate”
Andrew Bailey, 41, who has served as general counsel for Gov. Mike Parson for the last year, will replace Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who was elected to the U.S. Senate earlier this month. Bailey will complete Schmitt’s term, which ends in 2024.”
According to the governor’s office, Bailey has roughly eight years of professional experience as an attorney, including stints working as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Warren County and as an assistant attorney general. His previous jobs in the Parson administration were as deputy general counsel for the governor and general counsel for the Missouri Department of Corrections.”
“Bailey has never held elected office.”
“During his tenure with Parson, Bailey has kept a relatively low public profile. His closest brush with headlines came after records revealed he helped craft talking points the governor’s office used to advocate for the criminal prosecution of a journalist who uncovered a security problem in a state website.
The reporter discovered a security flaw that left more than 500,000 teacher Social Security numbers exposed. Parson accused the reporter of being a hacker. Bailey helped come up with the governor’s argument that the reporter engaged in illegal hacking because he took “eight separate steps” to get the Social Security numbers.
According to Bloomberg News, one of the eight steps included opening a new tab in Google Chrome. That effort by the governor’s office was widely panned, and a 158-page investigative file produced by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Cole County prosecutor showed no evidence of anything that even resembled computer hacking.
Asked about the push to prosecute a journalist Wednesday, Bailey stood behind the office’s strategy though acknowledged “the issue has been resolved and put to bed.”
“New Missouri Senate majority leader sees ballot initiatives and education as top issues”
“State Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin will be responsible for deciding which bills get Senate floor time — and bridging divisions within her caucus.”
Cindy O’Laughlin of Shelbina beat out Mike Bernskoetter of Jefferson City. As majority leader, O’Laughlin will be responsible for deciding which bills receive consideration on the floor in 2023. And she’ll play a major role in trying to keep the peace in a GOP caucus that hasn’t always gotten along with each other.”
“Since entering the Senate, O’Laughlin, a former school board member, has made education policy a major focus. She said she expects that issue to be a broad topic of conversation in 2023, particularly around bills that may recruit more teachers. And O’Laughlin also said there will be an examination over how some districts have school only four days a week. “I don't see how being there one less day a week is going to be a way to drive our scores up,” O’Laughlin said. “So those are some of the things I think we were going to have to look at.”
O’Laughlin also said the passage of a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana should prompt discussion about changing the initiative petition process. Some Republicans have wanted to raise the voting threshold necessary to pass a constitutional amendment or increase the amount of signatures required to get something before voters. “Really, the biggest downside of that is the legislature has no ability then to adjust anything,” O’Laughlin said. “Once it's in the Constitution, it's in there. And so I think that we'll look at some reforms for the initiative petition process.”
Major changes would likely have to go before Missourians, since they would require a constitutional amendment. O’Laughlin said she’ll have to confer with Senate research about when any changes would go into effect.”
“Missourians seeking food assistance saw call center wait times increase over the summer”
“In May, Missouri residents applying for food assistance by phone had to wait on hold an average of 56 minutes to reach the required interview process, a delay a federal judge deemed “unacceptably long.” Yet over the summer, wait times continued to increase each month, according to data obtained this week by The Independent.
Callers to the state hotline that handles the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, waited on hold for an average of over an hour and a half in August before being connected to agents.
The wait times exceeded an hour in both June and July.
In 2014, the Department of Social Services reprimanded its then-contractor for SNAP call centers because wait times were in excess of 6 minutes.
Applicants are required to complete an interview to receive SNAP benefits, and be interviewed for recertification every 12 to 24 months, but long wait times can make it difficult to get through.
The situation prompted a federal lawsuit in February alleging Missouri is wrongly denying thousands of low-income residents food assistance and violating federal SNAP law.
The judge overseeing the federal lawsuit, M. Douglas Harpool, called the then-56 minute wait time “still unacceptably long and particularly burdensome for financially struggling Missouri citizens in need of SNAP benefits.”
From February to May, the state noted a “substantial decrease” in SNAP wait times. The latest data reveals that trend did not last, even as another social safety net program, Medicaid, became more timely.
The state has attributed long SNAP wait times over the summer to an influx of applicants and a worsening economy. Officials also point to staffing shortages and high turnover within the Missouri Department of Social Services, which oversees the program.
When the call volume is too high, SNAP applicants cannot even enter the queue: the call is automatically ended.”
“Missouri’s culture of death must stop. Granting Kevin Johnson mercy is a good first step”
“The Missouri NAACP has a travel advisory in the state highlighting that if you are a person of color in Missouri, you have got to be careful. You will not have the complete protection of the law in the courts nor on the streets.
The execution of Kevin Johnson, planned for Nov. 29, is but one more reason the NAACP travel advisory remains in effect.
Through its high use of the death penalty, Missouri is separating itself in many ways from other parts of the county and other parts of the world. This love of death which has grown to maturity in Missouri, needs to stop.
Kevin Johnson is set to be executed by the state of Missouri for a crime committed at just 19 years old, just hours after watching his baby brother die in front of his eyes.”
https://missouriindependent.com/2022/11/23/missouris-culture-of-death-must-stop-granting-kevin-johnson-mercy-is-a-good-first-step/ Missouri Independent Nov 23 Commentary -Nimrod Chapel Jr.
“Congress knows how to slash child poverty. It just needs to do it”
“If you could prevent millions of children from falling back into poverty, would you? Most of us, I imagine, would answer “yes” without hesitation.
But not Congress. For nearly a year, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have dithered as the policy directly responsible for a dramatic decline in poverty last year lapsed. It’s time for Congress to bring back the enhanced Child Tax Credit.
New poverty figures by the U.S. Census Bureau has left no doubt that we can end poverty if we choose to do it. In 2020, the rate of childhood poverty stood at 9.7%. By 2021, it had dropped to just 5.2% — a whopping 46% decline. It was the largest year-to-year decrease ever recorded. In the blink of an eye, 2.1 million children in our nation no longer lived below the poverty line.
The reason for the massive decline in childhood poverty is clear. It is the result of improvements to the Child Tax Credit included in the last federal pandemic relief package that Congress passed in March 2021.”
“The one hitch with the plan was that the improvements to the Child Tax Credit were temporary. The changes expired in January of this year. And so far, Congress has yet to reinstate this more effective version of the Child Tax Credit.”
https://missouriindependent.com/2022/11/24/congress-knows-how-to-slash-child-poverty-it-just-needs-to-do-it/ Missouri Independent Nov 24 Commentary
“Early voting begins in some Georgia counties as Warnock and Walker sprint to December 6 runoff”
“A week-long early voting period begins Saturday in some Georgia counties as Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker enter a week-and-a-half, post-Thanksgiving sprint to their December 6 runoff election.
Unlike the 2021 runoffs, control of the Senate is not on the line, with Democrats having won 50 seats already and Vice President Kamala Harris giving the party a tie-breaking vote.
However, the stakes remain high: A Warnock victory would give Democrats the majority outright, rather than requiring the power-sharing agreement that is now in place. Democrats would have the majority on committees, allowing them to advance President Joe Biden’s nominees more easily.”
CNN Nov 26
“Democrats press for assault weapons ban, other gun laws after new mass shootings”
“Back-to-back tragedies have prompted a re-examination of existing local laws and whether national measures would help”
“Democrats are renewing their calls for a ban on assault weapons after the latest spate of multiple high-profile mass shootings, warning that their window to enact legislation is closing soon with Republicans set to take a narrow majority in the House in January.
On Nov. 19, a shooter carrying a handgun and an AR-15-style rifle opened fire inside Club Q, an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring at least 18 others. Days later, a supervisor at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., killed six employees in a break room in the store with a handgun he had allegedly bought earlier that day, before apparently killing himself.
Other recent horrors — such as the shooting deaths of 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Tex., who were killed by a gunman who bought weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition just days after his 18th birthday — have also prompted a reexamination of the ease of obtaining assault weapons.”
Washington Post Nov 27
“A Partial List of Mass Shootings in the United States in 2022”
“The deadliest mass shooting in the country so far this year was the massacre in which 19 children and two teachers were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24. It happened 10 days after 10 people were shot and killed in a supermarket in Buffalo.
There is no consensus on what constitutes a mass shooting, complicating the efforts of government, nonprofits and news organizations to document the scope of the problem. Different groups define mass shootings differently, depending on circumstances including the number of victims, whether the victims are killed or wounded, and whether the shooting occurs in a public place. The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group that tracks gun violence using police reports, news coverage and other public sources, defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people were killed or injured.
The Gun Violence Archive has counted at least 609 mass shootings so far this year, through mid-November. Of those shootings, 21 involved five or more fatalities, including the attack at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., on Nov. 22 and the shooting at an L.G.B.T.Q. nightclub in Colorado Springs on Nov. 19 that left five people dead.
The group recorded 692 mass shootings last year, with 28 involving four or more fatalities.”
https://www.nytimes.com/article/mass-shootings-2022.html NYTimes Nov 24
Statement from Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action on the recent mass shootings
“Here we are again, America,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “For the second time in a week, a shooter brought a gun to a place where people were trying to just live their lives and murdered innocent civilians. It is not acceptable to expect gunfire to ring out at any moment – whether in a store while preparing for the upcoming holiday, or in a nightclub, or coming home from a school field trip. It is also not acceptable for lawmakers to do nothing in the aftermath of these shooting tragedies. We demand our elected officials at every level of government act and pass life-saving policies that address our country’s gun violence crisis.”
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
TAKE ACTION WITH THE MISSOURI VOTER PROTECTION COALITION (MOVPC)
TO PROTECT THE RIGHT TO VOTE
Join the MOVPC meeting today MONDAY Nov 28 at 10 AM
Text “MOVPC” to 66866 or register HERE: bit.ly/protectmovoters
Our work to protect the vote requires action! So we hope you'll join our next MOVPC call Mon. Nov. 28, 2022 at 10am 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!
MAKE CALLS FOR GEORGIA RUNOFF!
VIRTUAL PHONE BANK FOR RAPHAEL WARNOCK!
Hosted by Georgia Votes
Multiple times available
Sign up here: https://www.mobilize.us/mobilize/event/488467/
We are excited to ‘Keep Our Dem Senate’ with Reverend Warnock! You’re invited with front-row seats! From now until our big win on December 6th we will have phone bank events that welcome amazing volunteers and special groups across the U.S. + abroad!
NEW TO CALLING WITH US?
No problem! We will host a training at the start of every shift, just sign up here to get the Zoom information and one of our organizers or trusted volunteers will be able to help!
WHAT YOU NEED
Please come prepared with: A computer or smartphone / Headphones, recommended for comfort and ease of use!
POSTCARDS TO GEORGIA VOTERS: HELP ELECT RAPHAEL WARNOCK FOR U.S. SENATE
Virtual Postcard Writing
Hosted by Activate America (formerly Flip the West)
Sign up here: https://www.mobilize.us/mobilize/event/543329/
Join Activate America as we write postcards to Georgia voters. Help get out the vote to elect Sen. Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate. IT IS URGENT, AS DEC 6 IS ELECTION DAY. We need Warnock in Washington D.C.
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.
DONATE OR FIND HELP IN KC METRO THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!
Here's where Kansas Citians can donate — and receive — food and gifts this holiday season. The holiday season already has enough stress, and inflation is only adding more. We put together a list of resources if you find yourself in need of assistance, or if you're in a position to help out.
Find ways to give or find services here: https://www.kcur.org/news/2022-11-25/kansas-city-food-gift-donation-2022-holidays-christmas-hanukkah KCUR Nov 25
December Friday Forum - Legislative Preview
Friday, December 2nd, 12:00-1:00PM
Register here: https://empowermissouri.org/events/friday-forum-dec-2022/
The Missouri General Assembly 2023 legislative session is just around the corner. In this session, we’ll give you a preview of anti-poverty bills that have been pre-filed and discuss how they may impact you and your community. Register here: https://empowermissouri.org/events/friday-forum-dec-2022/
Details and a link to join the call will be sent to the email address provided prior to the event.
Empower Missouri’s Friday Forums are our monthly online educational offerings for Missourians to build knowledge on poverty-related policy issues and skill in legislative and grassroots advocacy.
November is National Native American Heritage Month
“During National Native American Heritage Month, we celebrate Indigenous peoples past and present and rededicate ourselves to honoring Tribal sovereignty, promoting Tribal self-determination, and upholding the United States’ solemn trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribal Nations….. I urge all Americans, as well as their elected representatives at the Federal, State, and local levels, to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities, and to celebrate November 25, 2022, as Native American Heritage Day.”
–President Joe Biden
Throughout November, discover the rich history, ceremonies, and storytelling traditions of the Indigenous peoples of North America as part of Native American Heritage Month with The Kansas City Public Library
Red Alert! Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge - Daniel R. Wildcat
Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vakxpjiPAYQ
In an online discussion of his book Red Alert!, Haskell Indian Nations University’s Daniel Wildcat offers an avenue of response: Apply Native American wisdom and nature-centered beliefs to the strategy for rescuing our ecologically distressed planet. “(M)any of us have filled our heads with the ‘new stuff,’ ” he says. “We have acquired elaborate theories, concepts, and ideas about our species, nature, cultures, and civilizations, and in the process forgotten important insights our ancestors possessed. … We need both experimental logic and analysis and experience in the world.”
Wildcat, a Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma, is a professor in the Indigenous & American Indian Studies program at Haskell in Lawrence, Kansas. He has served there as a teacher and administrator for 34 years. He is also co-founder and co-director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center and co-author of two other books, including Power and Place: Indian Education in America.
For more information and resources visit The Kansas City Public Library Native American Heritage Web Page.
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