UPDATE - 3/4/23 @ 8:30am. I was sent a radio show this morning in which Senator Caleb Rowden shared his position that he would think it would be common sense to ban puberty blockers, hormones & gender surgeries for children. I would assume with that public statement we could count him as a yes vote, so make that 19 Republican expected yes votes.
UPDATE 3/3/23 - These are the only senators left on the Undecided List. Thank you so much for sending screenshots of emails, reporting conversations and letting me know what you've heard. I'm thrilled so many have decided to commit to a yes on SB 49 to keep our kids safe from this abuse. By my counts, we now have at least 18 republican yes votes if we can get a clean bill to vote on, which is enough to pass or stop a filibuster should the democrats start one.
This evening, a gentleman told me he doesn't believe people in politics really lie, but instead they have different points of view and most often miscommunicate. I find that very interesting. Miscommunication, he feels, happens often because in negotiations the parties aren't specific enough in their wishes.
According to his way of thinking, Senator Holly Rehder and I must've had a miscommunication even though I was very specific with her staff about my request. I probably wouldn't have bothered to even tell you, but she's decided to share her thoughts with others that I'm a liar. If you've been told that, I need to be clear with you about what happened.
And If I lied, then let me be the first to say I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I do not believe I lied but I'll give you the details and let you decide.
The search for votes on The safe act
Along with a friend of mine, I went searching for support of The SAFE Act this week. We visited every republican senator's office and posed the same question, "We're wondering if you're a yes, no or undecided on SB 49, the ban on puberty blockers, hormones and gender surgery for kids."
We got two clear types of responses and they were very distinct. There was no middle ground. It was either one way or the other.
Response Type 1. We heard things like this:
Are you really asking us? You know you don't have to. Why are you even asking us this? You know we're a yes! Of course we're a yes.
When we got those responses, we said we thought that would be the case but wanted to just verify and not assume. Everyone was all smiles and we went on our way.
Response Type 2.
Hmm.. I'm not sure. The senator really can't commit right now. The bill isn't up. I can't commit because we don't know what amendments will get added. I haven't talked to the senator about this and I'm just not sure. You don't know how this works. He doesn't know. Do whatever you want. It doesn't matter.
Now, when we got these responses which were often extremely rude and condescending we repeated that we were looking for one of three answers: yes, no or undecided. It was really a simple question. We reiterated the qualification that we are assuming the bill stays as it currently is with no substitute and no amendments.
In ALL cases where staff said they hadn't talked to the senator and just did not know - we told them we would put them in the "undecided" category AND we gave them my cell phone number so they could text me a quick correction if they discovered "undecided" wasn't correct. We said time & time again - we are only interested in sharing the truth, so please let us know if undecided is incorrect so we can fix it.
senator holly rehder is telling people i lied about her & others
In the case of Senator Rehder's office, we spoke with her Legislative Assistant. He's a very nice young man and he's new to his job this session. We were very kind and he was very professional. There was never a "demand" made and only a polite request for the senator's position on the bill.
We told him more once that we were compiling a list and we wanted to be sure to know the truth. He didn't know what her position was, so we asked if he'd like to text her real quick to find out while we were there. He had his phone and it appeared that he did text her. Who knows...maybe he texted his mom...but it appeared he was trying to get the information.
She didn't respond very quickly so we told him we'd add her to the undecided list instead of wasting his time. I gave him my cell number, and he wrote it on a sticky note. I'm pretty sure it was pink. We then asked him to please send us a text if he found out she was a yes or no so that we could put her on the correct list. He NEVER texted.
Later that evening, this past Tuesday, I wrote up the blog on The Safe Act with our lists and asked you to take action in order to help encourage our legislators on the undecided list to vote yes.
This morning, I got up and decided to send all our senators on the undecided list an email just to make certain of their position and to give them another direct opportunity to express their support of SB 49 in case they were now ready to commit. The only one I've heard from is Senator Rehder, although I have heard from some of you that you have gotten responses from others. You can see the updated lists below based on that information.
The email correspondence between Senator Rehder and myself today is here as well. She responded with a hateful message, called me a liar and attacked my character in an email where she also copied Senator Jill Carter. I'm not sure what that was about as Senator Carter had no involvement or even knowledge of my search for votes or my email. I would assume Rehder knows of my friendship with Senator Carter and she'd probably find it beneficial to divide & conquer.
Later on this afternoon, a friend from Rehder's district sent me the response she received. She referred to me as a liar in that message as well and made the point in both that I need to read my Bible more. Who knows how many others she has emailed with those sentiments.
I believe you deserve to know the truth about Senator Rehder and her character, including how she treats Missouri citizens. It's my understanding you're going to see her name on a state wide ballot in the near future. My personal suggestion is you vote for anyone but her. I'd vote democrat before I voted for Holly Rehder and there's more reasons than this one.
did I lie? You decide.
If you feel I did, please forgive me. It's my only intent to share accurate information with you as best I can. Every senator or staff member we spoke to was asked the same question and given the same opportunity to connect with me at any time. I heard from no one, including Rehder or her staff even though they had my number. My friend and I both watched him write it down.
my experience with other offices
Senator Tony Luetkemeyer - His Chief is the worst I've ever experienced. He literally told us in a hateful, very rude manner that he wasn't giving us the senator's position and that he didn't care what we did. If you need to deal with that office, pray up before you go in. Luetkemeyer has one of the most liberty destroying bills on the list this year. I wouldn't vote for him for anything where he'd have any ounce of influence over policy.
Senator Travis Fitzwater - His LA was kind and welcoming. She didn't know his position on the bill when we asked but later in the day she did literally come out of her office when she saw us in the hallway to let us know he was a yes. We appreciate her for this and told her so and we did exactly as we said we would - we added him to the yes list.
Senator Elaine Gannon - We really like Senator Gannon. She's very welcoming. She and her staff have always been open and kind. We've been in agreement on other bills so we assumed she'd be a yes on 49. However, her Chief wasn't certain and couldn't commit so we put her on the undecided list. We also gave her my number in case that was wrong but we didn't hear from her. Since the list was published we have been told that Senator Gannon has responded to those asking that she is indeed a yes vote on SB 49. We are thrilled to hear it!!
Senator Mike Bernskoetter - We spoke directly to Senator Bernskoetter in the hallway. He refused to commit based on the possible changes that might be made to the bill. Even when we said we were talking about the bill as-is, he would not offer his position. BTW...we are his constituents. I won't be voting for him in the future, either. As far as I know, he still has not committed.
Senator Karla Eslinger - When we walked in to her office, the doors separating her desk from the foyer were open and she was sitting at her desk working. There were a couple lobbyists in the foyer visiting with each other. When her Chief heard us ask the question of her Legislative Assistant (LA), he came out and shut the doors indicating access to the senator herself was not going to be happening. So, we asked him the question and he responded that they wouldn't commit. He easily could've asked her directly or offered to let us speak with her for a couple minutes. She was just behind that door, but he did neither. He would not commit. I've heard she's rather upset about the blog and feels we were on a mission to attack these senators. That couldn't be further from the truth. We are on a mission to protect our kids. Period. That said, I have heard from one of you that she did commit to vote yes. For that, I'm thankful.
Senator Jason Bean - We did ask Senator Bean directly whether he would support or not. We told him which bill we were talking about but he said he didn't know and couldn't commit. He was busy with some lobbyists and really didn't have time for us but we did tell him he was going on the undecided list. I have heard through the grapevine that he has committed to support SB 49 at this point. I haven't seen that in writing but I'm hoping it's true.
Senator Justin Brown - His staff would not commit to a yes and they were told he'd be on the undecided list. Since the blog was published, I have heard from you that he is a committed yes.
Senator Caleb Rowden - His staff also wouldn't commit to anything and didn't seem to care that he would be on the undecided list. I haven't heard differently.
Senator Rusty Black - Again, he was in his office and his staff did ask him if he would commit to a yes but he would not. I have not heard if he has changed his position but I'm hoping he'll be a yes when it counts.
Senator Lincoln Hough - This one was interesting. They pretty much told us we didn't know how this all worked and they would not commit to a position. We told them we'd put him down as undecided and they didn't seem to care.
Senator Cierpiot - Same thing. Not rude but no commitment and we didn't hear from them otherwise.
Crawford was out all week. We have no information on her position at this time.
There are a couple rumors floating around the Capitol about this bill.
1. They are going to try to combine Senator Moon's SB 49 and. Senator Rehder's Girl's Sports bill. While we do want both to pass, it will be unconstitutional if they put them together in one bill. And they know it. If they combine and it would be challenged in court, it would not stand up. The two topics are too broad to be in the same bill and comply with the Mo Constitution. If you see them do this - you can rest assured all those voting yes under those circumstances would be working AGAINST you.
2. Please know that if the combine the bills - it will likely be Rehder that gets to carry it. Personally, I don't care who carries it but I do want you to know she is not the true champion of this issue. The champion is Mike Moon.