During the 2016 Missouri legislative session, a number of discriminatory, harmful bills have made their way through the state legislature. For example, SJR 39 attempted to add a constitutional amendment to the state constitution, allowing businesses and organizations that provide wedding related services to use religious beliefs to legally discriminate against same-sex couples. Through bipartisan support, SJR 39 failed to pass the Emerging Issues in a 6-6 vote.
Though movement on SJR 39 has been stalled, other proposed constitutional amendments have been moving rapidly, targeting access to not only businesses and services, as SJR 39 indicated, but also one’s voting and reproductive rights.
As we approach the final days of legislative session, here are two other harmful bills that could appear on the 2016 ballot to educate yourself about:
Voter Photo ID
Upon voter approval, this constitutional amendment provides that a voter seeking to vote in person may be required by general law to identify himself or herself as a United States citizen and a resident of the state by providing valid, government-issued photo identification. Exceptions may be provided for by general law.
As the Williams Institute outlines, voter ID legislation infringes upon several different communities and their ability to vote, including transgender voters. The proposed Voter Photo ID bill requires that transgender voters who want to vote to update their gender marker on their driver’s license, a time consuming and expensive requirement that is still impossible to fulfill in many states, with some states only allowing updated IDs after receiving transition-related surgery, regardless of whether surgery was part of the transitioning process or not. This proposed ballot measure prevents people who cannot access or afford a government-issued photo ID from exercising their right to vote.
Upon voter approval, this proposed constitutional amendment adds unborn human children at every stage of biological development to the list of people who have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry in Missouri. The amendment declares that Missouri recognizes the right to life of every unborn human child at every state of biological development and must protect such life from deprivation by the state or private action to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.
HJR 98, an extreme measure that has passed the Missouri House of Representatives, would criminalize abortion in all circumstances by giving embryos legal protection under a guise of personhood. Though issues surrounding “personhood” have been introduced for several years, the debate was highlighted in Missouri in 2012 as a proposal that would infringe upon the in vitro fertilization process, impacting parents of every sexual orientation and gender identity who go through the process in order to have children. Sean Tipton, a spokesman for the American Society of Reproductive medicine, stated that these proposed laws would ban a doctor’s ability to do in vitro fertilization correctly, limiting the amount of eggs that they receive from a donor and the number of embryos that they can create. This proposed measure could prevent all individuals, including those within the LGBT spectrum, from having a child through a safe, effective manner.
You can help PROMO and our coalition partners stop these unconstitutional bills today by contacting your state legislator and telling them that these bills infringe upon the rights of ALL Missourians.