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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thank you Rep. Ryan Silvey, Rep. Mark Parkinson, Rep. Jeff Grisamore, Rep. Chris Kelly for standing up against Obamacare Exchanges

From Missouri First - Feb. 22:

After grilling representatives from the Department of Social Services and receiving pitiful responses, Rep. Ryan Silvey declaired that the $50 M federal grant that clearly could be used to set up an Obamacare Exchange WILL NOT be in the Budget he takes to the full House.

Silvey had some good help from Reps. Mark Parkinson, Jeff Grisamore, and Chris Kelly, who asked what strings were attached to the grant, how the money would be spent, and why out of state contractors seemed to get the computer system development jobs when we had some of the best talent available right here in Missouri. No answers from the bureaucrats.

Neither the folks from DSS nor the author of the amendment, Rep. Tom Flanigan, could even tell the committee the name of the federal grant they were promoting. Silvey asked if it was, perhaps, the "Affordable Care State Planning and Establishment Grant". The answer from DSS: Ummm... I don't think so, well... maybe it could be... Silvey said he was pretty sure that was the name.

Since DSS couldn't answer the tough questions, Silvey tried to find some state agency who would admit to being the originator of the request to add the $50 M budget item and called for them, one agency at a time, from the crowded hearing room -- there were no takers.

It seems that supporting Obamacare Exchanges is out of vogue!

Silvey's final edict is that he will not even consider adding the grant money to the budget until the governor specifically makes a request for it.

I think the governor's too smart to do that, considering 71% of the voters rejected Obamacare.

What's more, after talking to them, I'm confident that key senators would kill anything that smells of Obamacare, so savvy members of the House won't want to take a political beating supporting a dead cause.

We've cut another head off the Hydra, but don't think for a minute it won't attack again. We need to remain vigilant!

To the 405 of you who sent witness forms and made phone calls with only hours of notice -- THANK YOU!

Together, we're making a difference!

Specal thanks are due to:

For liberty,

Ron Calzone, director
Missouri First, Inc.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Missouri House Ignoring Constitution: Supreme Court Decision is a Wake Up Call

---from Missouri First:

At least twice in the last three weeks red flags have been raised about the lack of respect the Missouri General Assembly has for the Constitution.

First the chairman of an influential committee – the committee responsible for beginning the process of doling out many millions of public dollars to private parties – publicly declared that her committee has no responsibility to evaluate the constitutionality of legislation it considers.

Then, this last week, the Missouri Supreme Court chastised the House and the Senate for their neglect of constitutional responsibilities. Let's take a look at what the Court had to say before we go back to the committee chairman.

Klebba v. Missouri was a challenge to the the 2010 “Ominbus Ethics Reform Bill” (SB 844). Here's the history of that bill:

SB 844 came from the Senate as a one page bill “relating to contracts for purchasing, printing, and services for statewide elected officials”. It was originally a consent bill.
The House General Laws Committee passed it on to the Rules Committee as one page.
When the main ethics bill fell apart and House leadership needed another “vehicle” for the ethics language, the Rules Committee sent SB 844 back to General Laws. (04/28/2012)
Then all in one day, the General Laws Committee amended it with 65 pages, it was sent back to Rules and then on to the whole House. About an hour later, with Rep. Tim Jones handling the bill, the whole body was expected to take it up and vote for its passage. With no time to really determine what was in the bill, they did just that in a party-line vote. (05/06/2012)
Citizen activists complained that the bill contained unconstitutional provisions and that it was unconstitutional in form. Among the unconstitutional provisions was one that would have made class D felons out of anyone who “Attempts to influence any elected official other than an elected official who represents the legislative district where the person resides” if they didn't register as a lobbyist and file the required reports.
In a conference committee including members of the House and Senate, at the insistence of citizen activists, the most offensive language was removed, but the bill was still unconstitutional in form.
Now, 21 months later, the Missouri Supreme Court unanimously ruled that SB 844 was, indeed, unconstitutional because of its multiple subject omnibus form, the fact that it departed from its original purpose, and because it violated free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

The Klebba decision should be a clear message to the men and women the People send to Jefferson City to represent them: Start respecting the Constitution!

In his concurring opinion, Judge Zel Fischer made that abundantly clear as he pointed out the many recent cases involving the “original purpose” and “single subject” requirements of the Constitution. He wrote, “[the number of cases] continue[s] to rise annually... because the legislature frequently ignores these clearly expressed constitutional provisions.” (Emp. added)

He concluded his opinion with an admonition to the Court which also impugned the General assembly. “...because [the court] has encouraged a lack of legislative accountability and transparency and has permitted the legislature to thwart the will of the people by openly violating clear and express procedural provisions of the Missouri Constitution.” (Emp. Added)

It's disconcerting to think that our legislators are “openly violating” the Constitution as they pass laws that affect the lives of our families, but now some of them are no longer even pretending to be constrained by that document.

At the January 31st public hearing for the Freight Forwarder's bill (HB 1476, part of the China Hub bill), four citizen activists testified against the measure. Among other things, these citizens called to question the constitutionality of the targeted subsidies in the bill.

During his 5 minutes of testimony, Ron Calzone was repeatedly interrupted by Chairman Anne Zerr and told that his comments were not germane and that her committee had no responsibility to consider the constitutionality of bills before it. She implied that it was their job to enact legislation and let the courts sort out the constitutionality.

That's a scary proposition for more than one reason! First, if legislators don't have to worry about the constitutionality of legislation, what does their oath to “support the Constitution of the United States and of the state of Missouri” actually mean?

Chairman Zerr's comments were doubly disconcerting when you consider the great deference the courts usually give to the legislative process. Here's a typical statement of the standard of review from the Missouri Supreme Court when statutes are challenged: “This Court's review must begin with the recognition that laws enacted by the legislature and approved by the governor have a strong presumption of constitutionality.” (Emp. added) JACKSON CTY. SPORTS COMPLEX AUTH. v. State, 226 SW 3d 156 - Mo: Supreme Court 2007

In simpler terms, what we have is legislators, like Rep. Anne Zerr, saying, “The courts will do it.” and the courts saying, “The legislature already did it.”, and then there's often no one actually making sure the Constitution is upheld and the People's rights are defended.

The People of Missouri can't let this great shirking of legislative responsibility go unchallenged. We must demand that our representatives uphold the Constitution first and foremost.

Rep. Zerr has been asked to issue a memo to her committee retracting her statements from the January 31st hearing and instruting them to, indeed, consider the constitutionality of bills, but she has declined.

The issue has been brought to the attention of Speaker Steve Tilley's office, and his staff has refused a request for him to clarify the responsibility his committee chairman have to consider the constitutionality of bills. The Speaker's spokesman replied that the Speaker doesn't like to micro-manage the committees. So much for leadership.

CALL TO ACTION: Citizens from across the state should call, write, email and fax Rep. Anne Zerr and Speaker Steve Tilley and demand that they establish clear policy that supports the Constitution, as their oath of office requires. Memos should be sent to all committee chairs.

Letters to editors, blog posts and calls to radio shows are also in order. If our representatives can continue to ignore the Constitution, the People are left with little recourse.

Rep. Anne Zerr
Phone: (573) 751-3717
MO House of Representatives
201 West Capitol Avenue
Room 300
Jefferson City MO 65101

Speaker Steve Tilley
Phone: (573) 751-1488
MO House of Representatives
201 West Capitol Avenue
Room 308A
Jefferson City MO 65101

Friday, February 17, 2012

Local S. Baptist College, Hannibal-LaGrange University, opposes to the Obama Administration’s mandate that health insurance plans cover contraceptives

February 12, 2012


Reference: Dr. Terry M. Buster, Chairman, HLGU Board of Trustees

Official Position of the HLGU Board of Trustees

Hannibal, MO – Hannibal-LaGrange University participates in the group medical plan

of GuideStone Financial Resources. The plan is available to all eligible employees of HLGU

and their dependents. It is not available to students of Hannibal-LaGrange.

GuideStone’s group medical plan does not cover abortion, abortifacients, or emergency

contraceptives, procedures, services or medication that would yield similar results.

The health care reform mandated by the Obama administration contains contraception

coverage as part of those requirements. GuideStone’s group medical plan, as is the case with

most plans in the nation, could eventually be subject those contraceptive coverage requirements

unless appropriate religious accommodations are granted. GuideStone does not and will not

provide abortive contraceptives.

Hannibal-LaGrange University is in total opposition to the Obama Administration’s

mandate that health insurance plans cover contraceptives, including ones that can cause

abortions. We believe that this decision to require schools like Hannibal-LaGrange University to

provide to its employees medical coverage which covers abortion-inducing contraceptives is an

affront to our religious liberties. We strongly oppose any Governmental edict that infringes on

fundamentals of our beliefs.

At Hannibal-LaGrange University we firmly believe that God holds human life to be

sacred. We strongly object to legislation that mandates providing abortion coverage (Plan B,

Ella, morning after pill, or RU-486) to our employees and their dependents.

We join our health care provider, GuideStone, in their effort to have this mandate

removed from our health plan.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stop Ultra Liberal Judicial Nominee Jesse Furman!

Stop Ultra Liberal Judicial Nominee Jesse Furman!

This Friday, the Senate will vote on a Cloture motion to end discussion and move to final confirmation of Jesse M. Furman, whom President Obama has nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Furman is considered one of Obama’s most radical and controversial nominees. We need you to call your Senators and tell them to vote NO on Cloture on Jesse Furman’s confirmation for the following reasons:

Furman has actively advocated against religious freedom.

In 2001, Furman joined in filing an amicus brief in the landmark Supreme Court case of Good News Club v. Milford Central School, seeking to ban a Christian organization from using public school property, outside of school hours, even when the use was clearly not a school sponsored event. The Supreme Court soundly rejected Furman’s invitation to legislate from the bench.

Furman singled out Christians and declared that First Amendment free speech rights do not extend to Christians because they do not “promote cohesion among a heterogeneous democratic people.”

In his amicus brief in the Good News Club case, Furman argued:

“In short, while the public school is ‘[d]esigned to serve as perhaps the most powerful agency for promoting cohesion among a heterogeneous democratic people,’ the Good News Club is designed to do quite the opposite: to label children as either ‘saved’ or ‘unsaved’ and, thus, to promote religious belief in general and Christian belief in particular. Indeed, the Good News Club expressly teaches that adherence to a particular faith is essential to one's standing in the community — that those who 'have received the Lord Jesus as [their] Savior from sin … belong to God's special group — His family.' "

Furman characterized all of traditional Christianity as intolerant, and arrogantly declared that a “categorical exclusion of that [Christian] speech as both a reasonable, viewpoint-neutral limitation, consistent with the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment, and as a limitation mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.”