We Showed Up in Power
Last Wednesday was a long day — a two-hour hearing in the Senate for one anti-LGBTQ+ bill and an overlapping nine-an-a-half-hour hearing in the House for seven bills. How did Missourians show up? Over 700 people signed our petition, more than 600 people sent messages to the House committee members, and an additional 1,000+ people submitted online written testimony in opposition to the seven House bills.
Champion legislators also went above and beyond for LGBTQ+ Missourians in both hearings by confronting outright and dangerous lies, giving louder platforms to trans adults, doctors, clergy, psychologists, teachers, parents, academics, and businesses owners, and amplifying testifiers to collectively prove the bill authors are not the experts on these issues or the bills they brought forward for the hearings.
Our opposition is appallingly working to spread deeper and more creative lies about who trans, nonbinary, and intersex Missourians are by keeping these communities in the public eye. You’ve likely also seen fear mongering about our state from within our own community. We’re hopeful. Our power is stronger than the dangerous rhetoric weaponized against us, and this year we will take our voices, our stories, and our determination to the ballot box and break the supermajority by electing pro-equality leaders to win back our rights.
TL;DR — Here are the TWO steps to take action:
- Contact Senate Education & Workforce Development Committee members and tell them to vote NO on SB 728.
- Send a message of thanks to champion legislators in both the House and Senate for defending LGBTQ+ Missourians (information below).
URGENT LEGISLATIVE NEWS
One of the bills heard within the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee last Wednesday, Senate Bill 728, is expected to be voted out of committee. Should that happen, this legislation could then move onto the next stage of the process, being placed on the Senate calendar for floor debate. Here is a refresher of what that bills does:
- SB 728 (Koenig) — aims to create a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” specifying rights parents have over their children’s health, wellbeing, and education, while the child is at school.
- This bill censors historical and inclusive curriculum, forces schools to adopt only certain facts about American history, suggests teachers are groomers and forces them to out students to their parents, and bans students from using pronouns that do not align with their perceived gender as stated on their birth certificate.
Bills like these stigmatize and discriminate against minority students by treating them differently than other students in the classroom. It also deprives all students of the benefits that comes along with an accurate, inclusive education and learning environment. Contact the Committee Members and Tell Them to Vote NO on SB 728.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Here are two other ways to support right now:
1. Reach out and thank the champion legislators who fought alongside LGBTQ+ Missourians in the House and Senate hearings last Wednesday. These individuals have proven time-and-time again they have our best interests at heart.
- Sen. Greg Razer | Greg.Razer@senate.mo.gov
- Sen. Doug Beck | Doug.Beck@senate.mo.gov
- Sen. Lauren Arthur | Lauren.Arthur@senate.mo.gov
- Sen. Elaine Gannon | Elaine.Gannon@senate.mo.gov
- Rep. Ashley Aune | Ashley.Aune@house.mo.gov
- Rep. Jamie Johnson | Jamie.Johnson@house.mo.gov
- Rep. Doug Mann | Doug Mann@house.mo.gov
- Rep. David Tyson Smith | David.Smith@house.mo.gov
- Rep. Crystal Quade | Crystal.Quade@house.mo.gov
2. Join our partners fighting for sexual and reproductive justice at a hearing on Thursday, January 24 at 10 a.m. in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee regarding SB 810.
- SB 810 aims to revise the Missouri Statute regarding MoHealthNet (Missouri Medicaid) reimbursement, to restrict funding for any facility that performs abortions. This bill is the latest attempt for elected leaders to defund Planned Parenthood, not only a critical reproductive health facility, but currently the only holistic health services available to trans adults on Medicaid.
ADDITIONAL LEGISLATION WATCH
If you have tuned into the Senate this week, it’s no surprise the Freedom Caucus is stirring up trouble. This handful of Senators is holding up procedures against the rest of the Chamber aligned in their collective annoyance and frustration.
The Missourians for Constitutional Freedom announced last Wednesday their statewide ballot initiative to bring reproductive freedom into our state law. This move struck a nerve with the Freedom Caucus, who has been working for the past few years to remove the initiative petition process, aiming to strip the only direct democracy tool Missourians have allowing us to have a say on important issues. Consequently, the Freedom Caucus is filibustering after their colleagues voted against their measure to bring Initiative Petition reform up for floor debate, in their fiery attempt to stop Missourians from gaining back our rights through our own majority rule.