House Committee Gives OK to Ultrasound Bill
A committee of the Missouri House of Representatives has given approval to ultrasound legislation being promoted by pro-life groups. The bill would require that women seeking an abortion have an opportunity to view an ultrasound of their child and hear the heartbeat of the child if it is audible. The Special Committee on Children and Families recommended passage of the bill on a party-line vote of 7-5. The committee adopted a substitute that mirrors for the most part a bill introduced by Rep. Bryan Pratt of Blue Springs, and which reflects language recommended by the Missouri Family Policy Council. Other features of the bill call for women to be told in much more detail about the risks and alternatives to the abortion procedure. The bill would also make it a crime to coerce a woman to have an abortion against her will. Voting for the bill were Representatives Jeff Grisamore, Doug Ervin, Wayne Cooper, Ed Emery, Mike McGhee, Therese Sander, and commitee chairwoman Cynthia Davis, who had introduced another version of the bill. Voting against the bill were Representatives Margo McNeill, Jill Schupp, Steve Webb, Michael George Corcoran, and Tom McDonald. The full House of Representatives may take up the ultrasound bill for debate as early as this week.
The Senate version of the ultrasound measure, introduced by Senator Rob Mayer of Dexter, will be heard in the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Monday evening, February 23rd.
Last Call for Focus on the Family Marriage Conference
The recent movie "Fireproof" has brought great attention to the character, quality, and commitment of marital relationships. Missourians can accept a "love dare" of their own by participating in the Focus on the Family marriage conference this weekend. Popular Bible teacher and author Beth Moore and family relationship expert Gary Smalley will be among the featured speakers. The conference will be simulcast to host churches across the country from 8:30 to 3:30 this Saturday, February 28th. The theme is "Seeing Your Marriage Through the Eyes of God." Other speakers include Dr. John Trent and Dr. Del Tackett. Thirteen Missouri churches are serving as host sites. They are West Springs Church of Ballwin, First Baptist Church of Branson, Fairview Christian Church of Carthage, First Baptist Church of Fulton, Faith Fellowship of Houston, East Side Baptist Church of Independence, Rehoboth Baptist Church of Kirksville, The Church at Osage Hills of Osage Beach, First Baptist Church of Poplar Bluff, First Baptist Church of Sikeston, Springhill Baptist Church of Springfield, Grace Evangelical Church of St. Joseph, and Cedar Grove Baptist Church of Warsaw. For more information on the event, go to the Focus on the Family website at www.focusonthefamily.com
and click on the "Focus on Marriage Conference" listing on the home page.
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We have been extremely grateful for the wonderful response we have received to our Jeff City Updates. Our goal is to furnish you with important information on issues and people in state government from a Christian values perspective.
During the legislative session, we will send you weekly reports from our State Capitol. When the Legislature is out of session, we will provide you with periodic updates on issues of concern to Christian families and citizens in Missouri.
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Please be in prayer for our ministry as we seek to promote Biblical principles and Christian convictions in the hallways of our State Capitol. Please also be praying for our elected leaders as we seek to minister to them in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
State Legislators Seek Sex Business Crackdown
Missouri legislators are pushing a new state law to regulate the establishment and operation of sexually oriented businesses. Committees in the Missouri House and Senate have endorsed proposals that would strengthen state statutes
governing establishments that sell or provide sexually oriented materials or "entertainment. " Current state laws dealing with so-called adult video stores and "gentlemen's clubs" are particularly weak, and invite the proliferation of such businesses. The presence of sex shops and strip clubs has not only become prominent along the interstates and major roadways, but in local communities as well.
Due to liberal interpretations by the U.S. Supreme Court, state and local governments do not have the power to prohibit the establishment of sexually oriented businesses. However, federal courts have given the green light to state laws and local ordinances that regulate such businesses based on health and safety concerns and adverse "secondary effects" that result from such establishments.
Detailed studies that have been conducted in numerous locales across the country have demonstrated that "adult" videos stores and book stores, "adult" video arcades, and nude dancing clubs generate significant negative "secondary effects." These include the potential spread of disease, prostitution, sexual assault and exploitation, illicit drug use and drug trafficking, personal and property crimes, litter, urban blight, and negative impacts on surrounding properties.
The Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee of the Missouri Senate has advanced a proposal*
that combines bills introduced by Senators Jack Goodman
of Mt. Vernon and Matt Bartle
of Lee's Summit. The legislation would prohibit any sexually oriented business from being established within 1000 feet of any school, church, day care center, public library, public park, residence, or other sexually oriented business.
The bill also prohibits totally nude dancing. It also states that any person dancing in a semi-nude state may have no contact with patrons of the establishment. "Adult" video stores and video arcades that show films or videos on site must ensure that the the employee on duty has an unobstructed view of the area where such videos
are viewed. This is designed to discourage the promiscuous sexual activity that so often occurs in such areas.
The bill also requires that such businesses be closed from midnight to 6AM, prohibits the sale or use of alcohol, and bans anyone under eighteen from entering the premises.
The Local Government Committee of the Missouri House has also approved a similar bill**
introduced by Representative Ed Emery
Representative Emery has been waging a battle for quite some time in the General Assembly to protect Missouri families and children by restricting and regulating the sex industry.
A major promoter of the statewide crackdown on sexually oriented businesses is John Putnam of Carthage. Putnam is the Chairman of Citizens for a Decent Environment in southwest Missouri. Putnam says that six sexually oriented establishments have opened in Jasper County in just the last eight years.
"Lack of regulation of these businesses is especially common in rural counties where there is no planning and zoning," Putnam says. "Concerned citizens must stay vigilant or the sex profiteers will intensify their efforts to come
to your area. Our goal is to promote an environment of decency that protects children, families, and property values...and reduces the sexual exploitation of women and children in our communities."
For reasons that are unclear, efforts to restrict sex shops and clubs in Missouri have continually run aground in the Missouri Legislature, regardless of which political party is in power. Please be praying for our legislators that they will have the courage and the resolve to face down the high-priced lawyers and lobbyists of the sex industry and stand up for Missouri children and families.
Missouri is fortunate to have a new anti-pornography organization in our state. The National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families has established a chapter in Missouri.
The organization works to "preserve and advance the truth of Biblical sexuality. " The Executive Director is Dr. John Splinter. His number is (314) 667-8492. The website of the organization is www.nationalcoalition.org
*Committee Vote on House Bill 321
Yes: Representatives Jason Brown, Joe Smith, Mark Bruns, Charlie Denison, John Diehl, Chuck Gatschenberger, Jerry Nolte, Bryan Pratt, Paul Quinn
No: Representatives Mike Colona, Jason Holsman, Jacob Hummel, Trent Skaggs
Present: Jeff Roorda
**Committee Vote on Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bills 223 & 226
Yes: Senators Matt Bartle, Jack Goodman, Jane Cunningham, Rob Mayer, and Kurt Schaefer
No: Senators Jolie Justus, Jeff Smith