Under the Dome – May 10

Under the Dome graphic with Missouri State Capitol Dome in background

Greetings, fellow Missourians! It’s been a lively week in Jefferson City, with plenty of political developments to keep us on our toes. Let’s dive into the latest happenings.

Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, center, speaks to reporters after the Senate approved a budget. With Rizzo are, from left, Sens. Karla May, Doug Beck of Affton, Steven Roberts of St. Louis and Lauren Arthur of Kansas City. Photo by Rudi Keller/Missouri Independent.

Despite having months to hammer out the state’s spending plan, the Missouri Senate narrowly avoided a budgetary impasse by just 24 hours. With a dysfunctional GOP supermajority, Democrats played a crucial role in passing the $51.7 billion budget. 

Even Governor Parson thinks unelected AG Bailey has gone too far

Missouri State Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, speaks during a press conference in January. Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, stands to his left. The pair, along with Sen. Nick Schroer, R-St. Charles County, are being sued for defamation. Photo by Eric Lee/STLPR.

Governor Mike Parson made waves this week by pushing back against Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s legal defense of three Republican senators sued for spreading false information. Parson’s criticism highlights growing concerns about the state’s legal strategy and underscores divisions within the Republican Party over issues of accountability and transparency.

House Republicans stall child marriage ban

A bipartisan effort to outlaw all child marriages in Missouri has hit a roadblock in the state House. Despite overwhelming support in the Senate, the legislation has stalled in a House committee, raising concerns about the influence of extreme views on marriage within the Republican Party. With just over a week left in the legislative session, advocates are urging House Republicans to prioritize the safety and well-being of Missouri’s young people by advancing this critical bill.

Politicians reportedly hell-bent on stripping voters of rights

As we’ve reported here, Missouri Republicans are diverting attention from the state budget to an alarming proposition: making it harder to amend the constitution through initiative petitions.

Senate Majority Leader Cindy O’Laughlin of Shelbina speaks after passage of a $51.7 billion state budget as Sen. Lincoln Hough of Springfield waits for his turn to speak. Photo by Rudi Keller/Missouri Independent.

Senate Majority Leader Cindy O’Laughlin told the Missouri Independent she aims to push the initiative petition bill to a vote before the session ends on May 17. This bill proposes changes that would require constitutional amendments to pass not only by a simple majority statewide but also in a majority of congressional districts. Such alterations could seriously undermine the democratic process.

Democrats, concerned about potential suppression of voter voices, are gearing up to filibuster. Meanwhile, initiative petition campaigns face daunting new hurdles. Recent successful ballot measures, such as Medicaid expansion, have spurred GOP efforts to restrict citizen-led initiatives. As Republicans seek to overhaul the petition process, the future of grassroots democracy in Missouri hangs in the balance.

Progress MO launches the Missouri Freedom Project

Screenshot from the new Missouri Freedom Project website.

Progress Missouri has kicked off an exciting new initiative aimed at holding our state’s politicians accountable. The Missouri Freedom Project seeks to shed light on the actions and statements of elected officials that don’t align with their public rhetoric. This project empowers Missourians to make informed decisions by highlighting politicians’ records on issues like reproductive rights, workers’ rights, voter rights and public education. It’s a bold step toward transparency and accountability in our state’s politics.

Don’t let them get away with it

Stay tuned for more updates on Missouri politics as we navigate the twists and turns of the legislative session. Remember, your voice matters, so stay informed and engaged in shaping the future of our state!