SOMETHING'S JUST NOT RIGHT
Often when I'm out talking to Missourians across the state, we have conversations regarding things that just don't seem right, although we have a hard time putting our finger on exactly what's wrong. It feels like we are losing our freedoms and yet we can't exactly pinpoint the moment they were lost or how it happened.
I've got something for you to consider.
THIS BILL ISN'T TOO BAD
It happens often that bills are passed because they "aren't too bad." They may have a decent thing or two and maybe something great but usually they've got concessions in them as well. They are seen by legislators as a "net win" even though there are concerns or possible issues. Lawmakers love to say that no bill can be perfect and we just do the best we can.
But would you eat a brownie with a tiny bit of dog poop mixed in to the batter? Because, unless I was saving my kids, I really don't want ANY amount of dog poop in my food.
Now for my kids? I'll eat a pile of poop.
But otherwise, that's a big NO.
THE VIEW FROM ABOVE
If you look at one bill at a time, you may see a tiny bit of dog poop and choose to look the other way if you feel the benefit outweighs the poop. But if you look at the big picture and see that all these tiny turds amount to one big pile of crap, you realize that passing one turd is a huge problem!
The following is a list of Republican sponsored bills in the legislature NOW that are chipping away at your individual liberty. If you look at them individually, it probably doesn't feel like a real big deal. If you look at them collectively, I think you may feel differently.
the nutshell version
Here's the list. Click on the link to read a separate article with more details and action steps on each of these issues.
SB 117- Tort Reform & Sovereign Immunity. We are losing time in the statute of limitations on personal liability and they are giving sovereign immunity to every private contractor doing business with any public entity in the state. This elevates government related business and squashes Missourians. The law makers will tell you it's good because they need to reduce frivolous lawsuits and unclog the court system. They say it's good. I say it's 100% dog poop brownies.
Privacy Acts - There are more than one. These are elevating elected officials and protecting them at the expense of our first amendment right of free speech. The penalty is up to 5 years in prison & up to $10,000 in fines. Again...protecting and elevating government officials and squashing Missourians. Of course, they love it and think it's a great thing. And again I say there's a bunch of dog poop in the batter here.
Sunshine Law - Senator Andrew Koenig wants to make it harder for citizens to get transparent information from the government by revising our Sunshine Law. And again...elevating government and squashing Missourians. Even if this one stood alone, it's nothing but a huge pile of crap. Keeping Missourians in the dark and giving elected officials places to hide is nothing but a breeding ground for even more corruption.
See a pattern here??
If you want to know more, click on the link to get the details on each issue and the actions you can take to help. Yes, I know. It's a lot of work and it takes time. I think the ones who fought & died for this freedom would say that this is the least we could do.
This sounds good, right? Let's protect privacy. It's important for all of us. But these acts aren't about protecting you. They are about expanding protections for elected officials and penalizing citizens when the line is crossed. And the penalty is steep. A Class D felony carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Language is being added to expand the statutes already in place for judges and also to include all state elected officials, county elected officials and even election poll workers.
There are separate bills floating around to protect different groups of elected officials. They all have basically the same language although they are sponsored by a couple different legislators - Representative Peggy McGaugh and Representative Rudy Veit.
Please understand, I'm not in supporting ANY physical harm or harassment of ANYONE. However, when we include language that say "with the intent", who defines intent? How is that determined? "Intent to harass, intimidate" or even "influence the job performance" is a big problem in these bills.
This blog could be viewed as having intent to influence job performance of our elected officials. What if I mentioned to you in a blog that Senator Moon's wife and kids joined him at the Capitol for the legislative ball? Or that I ran into Representative Seitz and his wife, Valerie, while I was in Branson on vacation? If these bills pass and someone feels like I am trying to harass or intimidate, I could go to prison and have a felony conviction to live with the rest of my life...even though Senator Moon is married, loves his wife and kids and posts photos of her himself on his own social media pages. And we all know Representative Seitz and his wife Valerie live in the Branson area so I could very well run into them while I'm headed to Silver Dollar City.
These bills are just too invasive.
- HB 301 is a public safety bill sponsored by Rep Roberts with a "Privacy Act" amendment added by Rep Rudy Veit. It has passed the House and is in the Senate. This amendment pertains to judicial officers and all elected state officials and any political subdivision thereof. I've included a PDF attachment of the amendment for you to download and read as well as the link here. The following is language taken directly from the amendment beginning on page 2 line 6.
(1) "Elected official", any elected member of state government or any political subdivision thereof; (2) "Personal information", the same meaning as defined in section 407.1500. 2. A person commits the offense of unlawful disclosure of personally identifiable information if he or she knowingly releases, publicizes, or otherwise publicly discloses the name, home address, Social Security number, telephone number, or other personal information of an elected official or a family member of the elected official with the purpose to harass, intimidate, or cause death or bodily injury to the elected official or a family member of the elected official. 3. The offense of unlawful disclosure of personally identifiable information is a class A misdemeanor. However, if a violation of this section is done with the purpose to influence an elected official in the performance of such official's official duties, the offense is a class D felony.";
- HB 781 sponsored by Rep Peggy McGaugh is an election bill that grants this same protection to election officials, including volunteer poll workers. The following language is found on page 11 starting at line 88 in the bill. Emphasis added to bold words by me.
Disseminating through any means, including by posting on the internet, the personal information of the family of an election official with the intent to harass, intimidate, or influence such official in the performance of his or her duties. For the purpose of this subdivision, "personal information" includes home address, Social Security number, federal tax identification number, checking or savings account numbers, marital status, and identity of a child under eighteen years of age. For the purpose of this subdivision, the term "election official" includes election judges, challengers, watchers, and other volunteers or employees of an election authority. If a violation of this section results in death or bodily injury to an election official or a member of the official’s family, the offense shall be a class B felony.
- HB 405 sponsored by Rep Peggy McGaugh pertains to all elected county officials. The language is the same as her bill above, but please click the link to verify for yourself.
the end game
These bills are designed to protect government officials and intimidate citizens. The truth is we already have statutes on the books for stalking, harassment, assault, etc. These added measures aren't necessary and they infringe on our first amendments rights.
Protect the officials. Jail the citizens if they get offensive. Nice.
These bills need to go.
Status: Senate hearing is scheduled for Monday 2/27 at 1:30pm. Call and/or email committee members and ask for the privacy act amendment to be removed.
Sen Leutkemeyer - 573-751-2183
Sen Schroer - 573-751-1282
Sen Coleman - 573-751-1492
Sen May - 573-751-3599
Sen Roberts - 573-751-4415
Sen Rehder - 573-751-2459
Sen Trent - 573-751-1503
Email Addresses. Copy & paste into your own email server.
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Status: This bill has already had a House hearing but the committee still hasn't voted on it. Please email and/or call the committee members and ask for a no vote.
Peggy McGaugh, Chair - email@example.com 573-751-2917
Dan Stacy, Vice Chair - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573-751-8636
Joe Adams - joe.adams@ house.mo.gov. 573-751-4265
Brad Banderman - email@example.com. 573.751.0549
Donna Baringer - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573-751-4220
Tricia Byrnes - email@example.com. 573.751.1460
Jeff Coleman - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.1487
Bill Falkner - email@example.com. 573.751.9755
Roger Reedy - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.3971
Alex Riley - email@example.com. 573.751.2210
Adam Schwadron - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.2949
David Tyson Smith - email@example.com. 573.751.9753
Justin Sparks - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.0562
Cheri Toalson Reisch - email@example.com. 573-751-1169
Ken Waller - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.4451
Kevin Windham - email@example.com. 573.751.4726
Eric Woods - firstname.lastname@example.org. 573.751.2199
HB 405 has been referred to a committee but not heard yet. Please call and/or email the committee members and ask for a no vote.
David Evans - 573-751-1455 email@example.com
Rudy Veit - 573-751-0665 firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Sauls - 573-751-5701 email@example.com
Marlon Anderson - 573-751-7605 firstname.lastname@example.org
John Black - 573-751-1167 email@example.com
Brad Christ - 573-751-2150 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Copeland - 573-751-1688 email@example.com
Michael Davis - 573-751-2175 firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Hicks - 573-751-3572 email@example.com
Ian Mackey - 573-751-3859 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cameron Parker - 573-751-3629 email@example.com
Greg Sharpe - 573-751-3644 firstname.lastname@example.org
David Tyson Smith - 573-751-9753 email@example.com
Justin Sparks - 573-751-0562. firstname.lastname@example.org