Two rallies in Jefferson City today each called for the repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act and for employers to have the right to not provide coverage for birth control.
Several hundred people attended the rally held at the State Capitol, led by several religious leaders. Maggie Karner with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod told the crowd that President Obama’s birth control mandate is an attack on religious freedom.
“This debate is simply about us being forced to pay for products and services that are contrary to our religious beliefs, and we cannot be expected to check our faith at the door," Karner said.
With less than two months left in this year’s legislative session, House Republicans still haven’t scheduled a wide-ranging public school bill for debate. It would create tax credit scholarships that would pay for students to transfer from unaccredited schools to adjacent better-performing schools, and expand charter schools beyond St. Louis and Kansas City.
Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones admits there are wide differences of opinion on the bill, even among Republicans.
This one would raise it to 75 percent of the current national average – in other words, from 17 cents per pack to $1.09-1/2 cents per pack. Missouri’s tax per pack would also rise or fall as the national average changes, and it would require a referendum by Missouri voters to take effect. The bill was filed by State Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (D, St. Louis), who spoke in favor of raising the cigarette tax during budget debates on Thursday.
The Missouri House has passed all 13 bills that make up the state’s $24 billion budget for FY 2013.
The process took longer than expected, because of the large number of Democrats who took issue with cutting funding to blind pensions and for not spending enough on K-12 schools. Sara Lampe (D, Springfield) urged fellow lawmakers to look for other ways to balance the budget besides cutting services.
Several people testified in favor of the bill, including Kevin Green, a California man who spent 16 years in prison on charges that he raped his wife and killed their unborn baby. He was eventually exonerated after DNA evidence showed another man had committed the crime. Green says doing hard time in prison is a harsher punishment than being executed.