House Floor Debate Possible Soon

HB457, SB84
SB71, SB29, HB64

Senate Floor Debate Possible Soon

SB71, SB29, HB64

House Committee Action Expected Soon

Senate Committee Action Expected Soon

Paycheck Deception

Official title: 
Requires authorization for certain labor unions to use dues and fees to make political contributions and bars them from withholding earnings from paychecks
What Missourians Need to Know: 

These bills are about politics -- not economics. Paycheck Deception bills are designed by politicians to hurt their political opponents by eliminating public employee unions.  Politicians want more power over the middle class workers, so they are stripping workers of their rights. 

CEOs and their politicians want unions gone so they can have 100% of the political power. Going after struggling workers instead of reigning in big banks and CEOs who wrecked our economy is the wrong priority.

Everything Tax

Official title: 
Replaces all taxes on income with a sales and use tax
What Missourians Need to Know: 

These proposals will raise taxes on most everything Missourians buy every day.  Right now, many Missourians are struggling to make ends meet, but the Everything Tax would only make things worse by creating an expanded 10-percent sales tax.  Imagine having to find more money in your family budget for things like milk, bread, baby food, diapers, emergency room visits, in-home care, and car repairs, just to name a few.

The Everything Tax hits senior citizens especially hard.  Living on a fixed income, the Everything Tax would add a new tax on their food, medicine, and in-home care.

These bills would create enormous new budget shortfalls -- in the billions of dollars.  Creating a new, 10-percent, statewide sales tax to replace the state income tax will result in a massive budget shortfall. 

Shutter Habilitation Centers

Official title: 
Requires the Department of Mental Health to develop a transition plan for services of residents of state developmental disabilities facilities to the most appropriate setting
What Missourians Need to Know: 

State operated hab centers are necessary and irreplaceable for the safety and well-being of many clients.  Proposals would deny our freedom to have them. 

Families know best – not politicians – about what our loved ones need to survive.

A one size-solution does not work for everyone, particularly the most vulnerable

To ease the backlog, start by opening up to new admissions and allow those who have found private facilities unacceptable to return to hab centers.

Right to Work for Less

Official title: 
Bars employers from requiring employees to engage in or cease engaging in certain labor practices
What Missourians Need to Know: 

These bills are about politics -- not economics. Right to Work for Less bills are designed by politicians to hurt their political opponents by eliminating public employee unions.  Politicians want more power over the middle class workers, so they are stripping workers of their rights.

CEOs and their politicians want unions gone so they can have 100% of the political power. Going after struggling workers instead of reigning in big banks and CEOs who wrecked our economy is the wrong priority.

Right to Work for Less laws mean lower wages for union *and* non-union families (except CEOs and their politicians). Wages in right-to-work states are 3.2% lower than those in non-RTW states, after controlling for a full complement of individual demographic and socioeconomic variables.  

Prevailing Wage Attacks

Official title: 
Suspends the prevailing wage laws in areas declared by the Governor to be natural disasters for 5 years following such a declaration
What Missourians Need to Know: 

These bills are about politics -- not economics. Radical politicians have been trying to get rid of prevailing wage rules for years, and will continue to do so after these bills are defeated.  Using Joplin's tragedy to advance an ideological agenda is shameful. 

Slashing middle class paychecks doesn't help Joplin recover.

Supporters are exploiting Joplin tragedy to push through an ideological agenda that has nothing to do with helping Joplin families.

Payday Loan Industry's Sham Reforms

Official title: 
Amends laws relating to unsecured loans of $500 or less
What Missourians Need to Know: 

SB 476 and SB 462 Do Not Stop the Debt Trap. Bills are ineffective, allowing rates as high as 300% APR in Missouri. These bills are no substitute for the people’s initiative currently underway to cap the rates of these predatory loans.

300% is too high -- 300% APR loans will persist. Even with the proposed 90-day minimum loan term, at the rates permitted under these bills, a typical $300 payday loan will carry a 304% APR.

Only true reform is a comprehensive rate cap of 36%, which is exactly the proposal working its way to the voters at this moment. For more than 30 years, the legislature has waited too long to do far too little. It is time to let the voters finally say whether 300% APR is too high.

Reduction in Force Bill

Official title: 
Changes the laws regarding school personnel
What Missourians Need to Know: 

Missouri students, parents and teachers deserve better than out-of-state attacks and misinformation. StudentsFirst, a California-based group, and other out-of-state groups are pushing their extreme agenda on Missouri to undermine our public schools.

HB 1526 takes control away from local communities.  Out of state groups are trying to run our schools and tell Missourians what's best for our students, parents and teachers HB 1526 will harm hard working Missouri teachers and their students and takes away local control from our communities. 

HB 1526 ignores certification, experience and a teacher commitment in determining layoffs.

Anti-Whistleblower Bills

Official title: 
Modifies the law relating to the Missouri Human Rights Act and employment discrimination
What Missourians Need to Know: 

Protecting Whistleblowers is About Respect. Whistleblowers are employees who report suspicious conduct to their supervisors or public authorities, or who refuse to break the law.Current Missouri law makes it illegal to fire an employee because he or she blows the whistle.

This bill severely weakens the protections provided to Missouri whistleblowers. Whistleblowers who report suspicious conduct to only a boss or supervisor willhave NO protection if they are fired. This is the most common type ofwhistleblower – loyal employees who want their company to do the rightthing, but don’t know who the official person for them to report to is.

The protection for whistleblowers will only be there if the employee is rightabout whether the conduct is illegal. There is no protection for conduct thatis immoral but doesn’t break any laws. There is no protection for conduct thatonly LOOKS illegal.

Punitive damages are severely limited. Corporate misconduct and publiccorruption will only stop when there are REAL sanctions. Punitive damagessend an important message that protects the health and safety of the public.Putting limits on damages turns firing whistleblowers into part of the cost ofdoing business!

"Would make it easier to discriminate against employees who are minority, female, disabled or older or who belong to any other legally defined category of people whose civil rights have been trampled upon."

Anti-Sharia Law Silliness

Official title: 
Civil Liberties Defense Act
What Missourians Need to Know: 

Part of a national wave of anti-Sharia law bills modeled on legislation drafted by David Yerushalmi, "a 56-year-old Hasidic Jew with a history of controversial statements about race, immigration and Islam. Despite his lack of formal training in Islamic law, Mr. Yerushalmi has come to exercise a striking influence over American public discourse about Shariah.

This bill comes straight from Yerushalmi's model legislation. See head-to-head comparison here

Mother Jones has described Yerushalmi as a "White Supremacist." ​From a March 2011 article: "In a 2006 essay for SANE entitled On Race: A Tentative Discussion (pdf), Yerushalmi argued that whites are genetically superior to blacks. 'Some races perform better in sports, some better in mathematical problem solving, some better in language, some better in Western societies and some better in tribal ones,' he wrote. Yerushalmi has suggested that Caucasians are inherently more receptive to republican forms of government than blacks—an argument that's consistent with SANE's mission statement, which emphasizes that 'America was the handiwork of faithful Christians, mostly men, and almost entirely white.' And in an article published at the website Intellectual Conservative, Yerushalmi, who is Jewish, suggests that liberal Jews "destroy their host nations like a fatal parasite.' Unsurprisingly, then, Yerushalmi offered the lone Jewish defense of Mel Gibson, after the actor’s anti-Semitic tirade in 2006. Gibson, he wrote, was simply noting the 'undeniable Jewish liberal influence on western affairs in the direction of a World State.'"

Mental Health Employee Bill

What Missourians Need to Know: 

Would prevent the state from requiring an employee working in a medium or maximum security mental health facility to work more than 12 hours in a day.

Doesn't prohibit any employee from volunteering for any overtime hours.

Currently, some employees are being required to work 16 hour days multiple days a week. When an employee gets sleepy from working long hours, they become dangerous to themselves and to others in these facilities.

Doesn't apply to all mental health facilities-only facilities in Fulton and Farmington. Clients at these facilities require an employees full attention.

Dieckhaus Omnibus Education Bill

Official title: 
Changes the laws regarding school operations
What Missourians Need to Know: 

This huge bill holds important legislative proposals hostage to GOP leaders' extreme ideological agenda.  There are at least seven major components to this omnibus bill, some of which are important proposals with broad, bipartisan support. However, the sponsor of this bill is trying to push through controversial and extreme ideas with the needed legislation.   Among other things, the existing proposal

  1. repeals teacher tenure for all new hires and eliminates use of seniority in reduction in force,
  2. contains a tax-credit style voucher for students of unaccredited districts to attend private schools,
  3. expands charter schools without sufficient accountability measures
  4. repeals the minimum teacher salary for teachers with Master's degrees and ten or more years of teaching,
  5. creates statewide virtual district school and virtual charter school open enrollment,
  6. includes provisions allowing accredited districts to establish class-size capacity standards with regard to student transfers from unaccredited districts,
  7. contains the provisions of HCS/HB 1174 (Mike Lair) to allow the State Board of Education to hold a hearing and act to revise the governance of a school district when it becomes unaccredited, rather than automatically lapsing the district after two years, and
  8. contains the provisions of HCS/HB 1043 (Mike Thomson) regarding distribution of school formula funds when the formula is underfunded.

Tenure is important for a fair, meaningful dismissal process.  Tenure allows teachers to be fearless advocates for their kids, without fear of reprisal from administrators. Districts have the tools they need now to remove ineffective teachers.  

Charter schools need to meet the same standards of accountability, transparency and respect for the rights of students, parents and staff as district-operated public schools. The legislature should address these issues before dramatically expanding charter schools in the state. 

The omnibus package contains tax credit-style vouchers -- but sponsors don't want to call them vouchers. As with previous school privatization efforts, the proposal does nothing to fulfill the state’s primary duty: to establish and maintain quality public schools. In particular, the bill will do nothing to build the capacity of public schools across the state to offer high quality programs to students with special needs.  The credits would reduce state revenues by nearly a like amount and force the state to fore-go real opportunities to help all public school students or to fund specific programs to help students attending public schools. 

Birth Control Refusal Bill

Official title: 
Provides protections for religious beliefs as to the impostion of certain health care services such as abortion, contraception, or sterilization
What Missourians Need to Know: 

More political theater at a time when the legislature should be concentrating on creating jobs and funding education.

Birth control is good preventive health care. The highly respected, nonpartisan Institute of Medicine (IOM) understands that birth control is key to improving women’s health and the health of their families.  Increased access to birth control is directly linked to declines in maternal and infant mortality, as well as other health benefits and positive health outcomes. Among other things, birth control can protect women against debilitating symptoms of endometriosis and can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. 

Women should not be denied access to this benefit just because they work for a religious employer (i.e. hospital, university, or school).  Women of all faiths — even Catholics — use birth control.  In fact, 98 percent of sexually experienced Catholic women in the U.S. have used birth control at some point in their lives.  Access to affordable birth control is also widely supported by the general public.  Seventy-one percent of American voters, and 77 percent of Catholic women voters, support birth control without co-pays. 

We need leaders who understand that religious liberty and affordable health care are both core American values that needn't be pitted against each other.

Religious institutions that are supportive of the President's contraception policy include theCatholic Health Association (which represents the largest group of nonprofit health care providers in the nation), Catholics UnitedUniv. of Notre Dame, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and UniversitiesNETWORK, and a wide range of Catholic, evangelical and mainline religious leaders.

Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are also supporting the President's policy.

So are most Americans -- including Catholic voters.

Nearly 99 percent of women have relied on contraception in their lives, but more than half of women between 18 and 34 years old have struggled to afford it.

All churches and houses of worship are, and have always been, exempt from covering contraception under the Affordable Care Act.

If SB 749 were to become law, thousands of Missouri women would be denied access to no cost birth control. Birth control is not just basic health care for women, it is an economic issue.  Without this new birth control coverage benefit, many women would have to continue to pay $15 to $50 a month on top of their premium.  This benefit will help thousands of Missouri women save hundreds of dollars each year. 

The issue here is insurance coverage of birth control, not the provision of birth control.  Nothing in this new benefit requires an organization to dispense birth control or an individual to take it.  This is simply a matter of ensuring women have access to affordable preventive care by providing it with no co-pays.

The current federal birth control coverage benefit already includes a sweeping refusal clause, giving an exemption to certain religious employers that meet the following criteria:  

  • have religious values as the purpose of the organization
  • primarily employ persons who share the religious tenets of the organization
  • serve primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the organization
  • are nonprofit organizations 

It’s just not right for any employer to dictate whether its employees can or can’t have access to affordable birth control, especially when it’s basic health care. Religious freedom means that neither government nor employers should intrude on individuals’ ability to practice their own religion or faith, including their personal decisions about health care. 

Let Women Die Bill

Official title: 
Provides for the conscience rights of all individuals who provide medical services
What Missourians Need to Know: 

Bills use sweeping definitions to expand Missouri’s already expansive refusal clause without any patient protections. The reach of the bills are vast, but they specifically single out women’s reproductive health care for refusal.  Current Missouri law already grants protections to individuals who refuse to provide abortion care, but the law contains clear instruction that life-saving care must always be provided. Senator Rupp and Representative Jones’ bills contain no such protections for women and instead create elaborate protections for medical staff who would let a women die rather than provide medical attention that upsets their “moral” sensibilities. 

Eliminate protections for patients seeking life-saving care in emergency circumstances. Current state and federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals who refuse to provide or refer for an abortion not necessary to save the woman’s life. Under the guise of claiming to protect medical workers, the bills actually overturn decades of precedent that guarantee people’s access to life-saving emergency care, including abortion care.

Disproportionately impact poor and rural patients. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, low-income women face twice as much difficulty as other women in obtaining the flexible work schedules, transportation and child care necessary to access health care services. When faced with medical staff that refuses them care, low income and rural women will face even higher hurdles to access medical care. Expansive refusal policies may protect medical providers who discriminate based on “moral” beliefs which could have a significant impact on African American, GLBT and other Missouri communities that already face negative health disparities. 

Refusal clauses jeopardize patients' health. Healthcare institutions hold themselves out as providers of health care; they have a duty to ensure that patients receive accurate information and appropriate care. Failure to provide care—even for religious reasons—is wrong and may jeopardize patient health. Efforts to expand refusal clauses to employers, health insurers, and pharmacists and to preclude not only services, but information and referrals, pose serious dangers to Americans’ health.  The American Medical Association code of Medical Ethics states: “The patient’s right to self-decision can be effectively exercised only if the patient possesses enough information to enable an intelligent choice.”  

Science – not politics – should determine medical decisions.

English-Only Driver's License Bill

What Missourians Need to Know: 

This bill would make Missouri's roads less safe. There is no evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that drivers who don’t speak English are more dangerous than anyone else.  Instead, this bill actually creates a public safety problem by forcing some people to drive without being tested on Missouri’s traffic laws.

Would only impact legal, documented immigrants already in compliance with immigration laws. Current Missouri law makes undocumented people ineligible for a driver’s license. Current law also requires the CDL test to be administered only in English without an interpreter.

HB 1147 and HB 1186 would remove ability for new immigrants to qualify for a driver's license to get to work and school. Currently, Missouri offers the state driver exam in 12 languages, including English, and allows the use of approved interpreters for other languages.  Individuals needing interpreters cover that cost themselves.  HB 1147 and HB 1186 would require the test to only be administered in English, removing the ability of thousands of new immigrants to qualify for a driver’s license and eliminating their ability to get to work, drive children to school, or travel.

By removing many individuals’ only mode of transportation to school, work, or interaction in the community, this legislation would force many to drive without a license or insurance, compromising public safety and putting other drivers at risk.

Pro-Discrimination Bill

Official title: 
Modifies the law relating to the Missouri Human Rights Act and employment discrimination
What Missourians Need to Know: 

Would weaken the Missouri Human Rights Act and reverse decades of civil rights progress. 

Severely weakens the protections provided to Missouri whistleblowers.
Whistleblowers who report illegal conduct to a boss or supervisor will have NO protection if they are fired.  This is the most common type of whistleblower – loyal employees who want their company to do the right thing.

The protection for whistleblowers will only be there if the employee is right about whether the conduct is illegal. There is no protection for conduct that is immoral but doesn’t break any laws. There is no protection for conduct that only LOOKS illegal. 

Compensatory and punitive damages are severely limited.  Corporate misconduct and public corruption will only stop when there are REAL sanctions. Punitive damages send an important message that protects the health and safety of the public.  Putting limits on damages turns firing whistleblowers into part of the cost of doing business.

Protection for Whistleblowers is Protection for All of Us

All the state's major civil rights groups oppose proposal.

"Protecting human rights is not a matter of politics," Nixon said when he vetoed the 2011 version of this proposal. "It is a matter of principle. That is why I will veto Senate Bill 188."

SB 592 does not mirror federal law as supporters claim.  ​A few key differences between federal employment law and SB 592: 

  • SB 592 only provides protection from age discrimination until the age of 70. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), there is no age limit of 70 years (with a few exceptions).
  • SB 592 has a definition of “disability” that is substantially more limited than that contained in the federal law.
  • SB 592 abrogates the 7th Amendment right to a trial by jury in civil cases by allowing judges to make determinations of fact. Under federal law, issues of fact are decided by the trier of fact, the jury. 
  • Under federal law, the entire summary judgment framework (commonly referred to as the McDonnell Douglas framework) was created by case law and is not in the statute.  They have tried roughly to ape the McDonnell Douglas framework in SB 592, but the language is not the same. Under federal law, the plaintiff only needs to show a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the protected characteristic was a motivating factor or that the challenged employment decision was "because of" the protected characteristic. Additionally, under federal law, even if the employer can show that it would have made the same decision regardless of the discrimination, the statute allows the plaintiff to recover nominal damages and attorneys’ fees. Second, it would be unconstitutional to take away the fact finding duties of the jury.
  • SB 592 does not allow for future damages in the definition of actual damages. In many federal courts, actual damages include front pay (future wage loss) and is not limited to back pay.
  • UNDER SECTION 1981 (42 USC 1981) THERE ARE NO CAPS ON DAMAGES FOR RACE DISCRIMINATION

TABOR-like Constitutional Amendment

Official title: 
Amends the Constitution to limit general revenue appropriations and mandate state income tax rate reductions in certain situations
What Missourians Need to Know: 

TABOR-style limits are a proven failure and will permanently diminish the state's capacity to invest in education and other services we need in Missouri. This misguided resolution would impose a permanent, constitutional spending limit on state government and would limit annual growth in state appropriations to a cost of living adjustment factor plus a population growth factor.

TABOR-like rules in the constitution would limit future legislators' ability to tackle unforeseen problems. HJR 43's arbitrary caps would impose strict spending limits and threaten the ability of future legislatures to adequately fund basic state services, including health care, k-12 and higher education, transportation, and public safety.

Missouri already has a limit on state revenues, the “Hancock limit”, and a requirement that all tax increases over about $75 million must be approved by statewide vote. Missouri general revenue is 12 percent lower than it was a decade ago after adjusting for inflation, is $2 billion below the Hancock lid, and is the lowest it has been under the Hancock formula in 25 years.

Kraus' Costly & Irresponsible Immigration Bill

Official title: 
Modifies the law relating to unlawfully present aliens
What Missourians Need to Know: 

Costly and irresponsible. This bill borrows directly from legislation that has been passed in other states.  In every case where similar provisions have passed, it has resulted in immediate and expensive legal challenges.  Major sections of this bill are currently enjoined in other states.  It is irresponsible to attempt to pass provisions that have already been ruled unconstitutional and enjoined by the courts.

Wastes limited law enforcement resources and diverts police attention away from serious crimes. SB 590 adds new, expensive mandates to arrest and detain immigrants, which would require extra training of law enforcement officers and supervision. If passed, this legislation would create a climate of fear and hinder the work of Missouri’s law enforcement officials.

An attack on working people. Immigrant workers and entrepreneurs are necessary to the Missouri economy.  Communities around the country are creating policies to welcome immigrant families.  We should be following the lead of those communities; not that of states embroiled in litigation and division.

Education provisions attack immigrant children and families and overburden Missouri schools. SB 590’s provisions requiring schools to report the immigration status of students and their parents is taken directly from HB 56 in Alabama.  The provisions of that bill have already been declared unconstitutional and enforcement of the law has been enjoined. Requiring schools to act as immigration agents is an unfunded mandate that will force school districts to implement expensive new training, supervision, and procedures.

SB 590 goes against the Missouri values of respect, equality, and fairness. Missouri legislators should join Colorado, Virginia, Kentucky, New Hampshire and Wyoming and refuse to support this kind of harmful legislation.

Rowland Birther Bill

Official title: 
Requires proof of identity and status as a United States natural born citizen for the office of President and Vice President to be submitted with other required certification documents to the Secretary of State
What Missourians Need to Know: 

Inspired by Madness. Rowland claims the bill is not a reaction to Obama’s presidency. Yet the constituent who inspired Rowland to bring it to committee believes there was “no certification of residency or birth certificate” for President Obama to run for office. Watch video here: http://youtu.be/CfUVagtA7CY

Politico: "Birther debate alive across U.S." Missouri is not the only state where fringe elements of the Republican party are wasting legislative time on an issue settled long ago. According to Politico.com, legislators in at least ten other states have introduced bills “requiring presidential candidates to provide some form of proof that they are natural-born citizens, a ballot qualification rule designed to address widespread rumors on the right that Obama was not born in the United States." 

Last year’s efforts recycled. Similar efforts last year failed miserably.