With just four weeks left in this year's legislative session in Jefferson City, critical legislation of importance to Missouri families is languishing in the Missouri Senate. Proposals which would protect Missouri women and children from abortion, guarantee religious freedoms, and crack down on sexually oriented businesses have all been consigned to the informal calendar. Bills are placed on the informal calendar after running into opposition, and may or may not be taken up again for debate.
*Senate Bill 264
, sponsored by Senator Rob Mayer
of Dexter, would strengthen Missouri's informed consent law on abortion. It would ensure that abortion-minded women have the opportunity to see an ultrasound of their child, and makes it a crime to coerce a woman to have an abortion against her will. SB 264 was subject to an organized filibuster by several Democratic
Senators led by Senators Jolie Justus and Joan Bray, and the bill was set aside.
*Senate Joint Resolution 12, sponsored by Senator Delbert Scott of Lowry City, would provide that the right of Missouri citizens and schoolchildren to pray and acknowledge God cannot be infringed by state or local government. SJR 12 encountered a filibuster by Senators Justus and Bray, and further debate was suspended.
*Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bills 223 and 226, sponsored by Senator Jack Goodman of Mt. Vernon and Senator Matt Bartle of Lee's Summit, would crack down on "strip clubs" and "adult" video stores which have proliferated across the state. Just this past week a man was shot and killed outside a strip club in Jefferson County. SCS SBs 223 &226 was tied up in debate in the Senate, and is almost certainly going to face a filbuster by liberal Senators.
A filibuster occurs when a senator or group of senators talk on an indefinite basis in order to kill a
piece of legislation. Unfortunately, liberal state senators are using this tactic on a regular basis to obstruct priorities of the Christian community. This is a corruption of the democratic process, since an overwhelming majority of the members of the Missouri Senate support pro-life and pro-family principles.
The only way to overcome a filibuster is for the Senate to vote to shut down debate and proceed to a vote on a particular measure. The procedural motion is known as "moving the previous question," or "the PQ." Such a motion is rarely made in the Missouri Senate, and is considered by many to be a breach of the traditions and decorum of the Senate. As a result, a handful of liberal senators who are in a distinct minority in the Legislature are being allowed to torpedo the will of
the Missouri General Assembly and the families they represent.
It has become clear that the only way to adopt pro-family legislaton in Jefferson City is for the "previous question" motion to be utilized. If senators followed the practice of prior years and only used the filibuster in the most extreme circumstances, the tradition of the filibuster might retain some respectability. However, the filibuster tool is now being used indiscriminately to halt any legislation certain legislators don't like. The filibuster has empowered pro-abortion and anti-family lawmakers with "life or death" control over the work of the Missouri Legislature.
It has become clear that the only way to advance legislation that matters to Christian families and citizens in Missouri is to invoke the "previous question" option. When the traditions of the Senate subvert the state's motto ("The welfare of
the people shall be the supreme law") such traditions must be revised or abandoned. The hour to do so is now.
The Missouri Senate needs to revise its rules to allow for "cloture," the same procedure available in the U.S. Senate. Under this procedure, a supermajority of senators can suspend debate and proceed to a vote on an issue.
This conversation may seem highly technical and tedious, but it involves the heart of the battle we fight in Jefferson City to promote your values and your convictions. Politics can be an ugly business, and it has become unusually ugly lately as the filbuster is used to frustrate the good intentions and good will of the elected representatives of the
people of Missouri.
We encourage you to contact your state senator and ask them to take up and pass the bills mentioned above
. Tell them you are counting on them to take action on these measures before the session ends, and to vote the previous question if necessary to see these proposals enacted into law. You can find contact information on your state senator at www.senate.mo.gov
In the book of Habakkuk we read the words: "Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted."
In the First Book of Kings, we read of a powerful political figure of the time, King Solomon, who
asked God for "a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong." Because Solomon did not seek (like so many politicians) power or wealth or harm to his enemies, God told him He would grant him the most wise and discerning heart. Please pray that our state legislators will seek God's counsel in the same way, and be blessed with the wise hearts that can only come through God's grace.