Bills filed by Missouri Republicans for the upcoming legislative session are nearly word-for-word from the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) bill templates. ALEC is a “membership organization” for state legislators, but functions primarily as a bill factory that pushes a pro-corporate special interest agenda. In exchange for expensive steak dinners and all-inclusive getaways, legislators support bills that are directly from ALEC’s “model” legislation.
Today, the Missouri House Budget and Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee held a joint hearing stunt to discuss the state's policies regarding refugees. Democrats released a plan that included an emphasis on public safety, while standing with people fleeing persecution.
Even the most joyful Thanksgiving dinners can descend into chaos under the strain of political arguments. Now take that joyful table, put it in Missouri, and you have a whole new ballgame. When it comes to political rancor, no one does it quite like the Show-Me State.
Planned Parenthood at odds with the legislature and a major university? Check. Angry and discriminatory opposition to Syrian refugees? Check. Confusion, bigotry and privilege slowing progress and respectful discussion of #BlackLivesMatter and #ConcernedStudent1950 movements? Oh hell yes.
Rep. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) sent a letter to Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) sharing his fears about Syrian refugees, and calling on Gov. Nixon to put “a stop to the potential Islamization of Missouri,”… yes, you read that correctly.
Politicizing the atrocities in Paris is sheer gamesmanship at best, fear-mongering at worst. And on top of that, the decision to accept or reject refugees is federal— state governments don't have the authority.
In light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, it can be easy to forget that there are still many areas in which LGBT individuals and couples are denied equal treatment. Sadly, in the past few weeks we learned of more real life stories of sanctioned-discrimination in Missouri.
Through ALEC, corporations hand Missouri legislators wish lists in the form of "model" legislation that often directly benefit their bottom line at the expense of Missouri families. Behind closed doors, corporations craft numerous ALEC model bills. Elected officials who are members of ALEC bring ALEC legislation back to Missouri, where they claim them as their own ideas and spin them as important public policy innovations without disclosing that corporations crafted and pre-voted on the bills at closed-door meetings with legislators who are part of ALEC.
"An oasis of sanity in a state whose officials often seem to care most about receiving gold stars from the NRA, denying women reproductive rights, and transferring money from cash-strapped public services to greedy corporate interests..."
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