Under the Dome – March 1

Under the Dome graphic with Missouri State Capitol Dome in background

Welcome back to Under the Dome, your weekly update on the goings-on of the Missouri state legislature.

Legislators spin wheels on legislation that would hurt their own constituents, file frivolous lawsuits

This week seemed like an epic battle over control as legislators set their sights anywhere but where voters seem to need or want them.

A House bill introduced by Rep. Jamie Ray Gragg, R-Ozark, would put teachers on the sex offender registry if they “contribute to the social transition of a trans youth,” including using their pronouns or expressing support for their gender expression through haircuts or clothes. That’s right – complimenting a kid’s outfit could mark you as a sex offender under the language of H.B. 2885.

Defunding Planned Parenthood for work they don’t do

Meanwhile, the Missouri House gave initial approval to legislation that would halt public funding, including Medicaid reimbursements, for any facilities and their affiliates that provide abortions. That would render Planned Parenthood without funding even though the organization doesn’t perform abortions in Missouri, as required by law. The legislation would curtail what the organization IS doing, such as providing essential reproductive health services like contraceptive access and cancer screenings, on which thousands of Missourians depend.

Using doctored videos as “evidence”

Unelected Attorney General Andrew Bailey piled this week on by filing a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood, using as evidence a staged, edited video from right-wing Project Veritas. The video from the conservative news organization founded in 2010 claims to show the illegal transport of teens out of state for abortions. Planned Parenthood maintains the “evidence” has been highly doctored and edited.

Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, told the Missouri Independent that Bailey tweeted about the lawsuit before it was officially filed in the courthouse.

“This is a press release dressed up as legal action from an unelected attorney general,” Wales said. “It is based on ‘evidence’ from fraudulent, extreme anti-abortion actors, who claim to be ‘journalists.’”

KKK is in the GOP house

Finally, this week the Riverfront Times broke a shameful story that a man with a history of “honorary” membership in the Klu Klux Klan not only managed to make it on the unofficial ballot to be the Republican nominee for Missouri governor but may even appear atop the official ballot when GOP voters vote in the primary this August.

Those revelations came to light last night when former Missouri Representative Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin) tweeted out a screenshot showing the unofficial candidate filing list for Governor posted to the Secretary of State’s website. On it, Darrell Leon McClanahan III’s name sits atop more well-known GOP contenders like Mike Kehoe and Jay Ashcroft.