Tony Rothert | St. Louis Public Radio

Tony Rothert

Supporters of a referendum on House Bill 126 protest in downtown St. Louis on Friday afternoon.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 11:46 a.m. Aug. 23 with a comment from Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft

Opponents of Missouri’s eight-week abortion ban have dropped their efforts to gather the needed 100,000 signatures to place a referendum on the November 2020 ballot. They claim Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft did not give them enough time to do so by Wednesday, when the law will take effect.

The abortion-rights coalition No Bans On Choice and the ACLU of Missouri have instead turned their attention to making sure state officials cannot block future referendums. On Thursday, they filed a lawsuit against Ashcroft, a Republican, alleging that the laws that allowed him to delay releasing the referendum’s language violate the state’s constitution.

Abortion rights activists on Thursday gathered near the Gateway Arch to protest the potential closure of Missouri's only abortion provider. They marched to the Wainwright State Office Building, where some activists went inside. May 30, 2019
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Supreme Court won’t reconsider an appeals court decision that effectively delays the ACLU of Missouri from gathering signatures to overturn Missouri’s recently passed eight-week abortion ban.

It’s a move that places the ACLU of Missouri’s referendum in serious jeopardy, because there may not be enough time to gather roughly 100,000 signatures to spark a 2020 election.

Sticky notes left by protesters outside Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's office.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on 3:35 p.m. on Wednesday with rejection of transfer.

A Missouri appeals court ruled Monday that a referendum aimed at overturning a ban on abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy can proceed.

The court reversed Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s rejection of the referendum.

While the ruling revives an effort from the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri to scrap the abortion ban, supporters won’t have a lot of time to gather roughly 100,000 signatures. And there could be more legal fights to come about whether a provision that goes into effect right away will derail the referendum in the future.

Sticky notes left by protesters outside Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's office.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri appeals court ruled Monday that a referendum aimed at overturning a ban on abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy can proceed.

The court overturned Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s rejection of the ballot initiative.

While the ruling revives an effort from the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri to scrap the abortion ban, supporters won’t have a lot of time to gather roughly 100,000 signatures. And there could be more legal fights to come about whether a provision that goes into effect right away will derail the referendum in the future.

Sticky notes left by protesters outside Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's office.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri appeals court ruled Monday that a referendum aimed at overturning a ban on abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy can proceed.

The court overturned Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s rejection of the ballot initiative.

While the ruling revives an effort from the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri to scrap the abortion ban, supporters won’t have a lot of time to gather roughly 100,000 signatures. And there could be more legal fights to come about whether a provision that goes into effect right away will derail the referendum in the future.

Maia Hayes joined dozens of abortion rights advocates downtown in protesting the potential shuttering of Missouri's last abortion provider. May 30, 2019
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4 p.m. on Thursday with the filing of the ACLU's lawsuit:

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft rejected bids to place a newly signed abortion ban up for a statewide vote in 2020, citing the fact that a provision in the measure goes into effect right away.

At least one group seeking to overturn the eight-week ban has gone to court against the GOP statewide official’s action.

Sticky notes left by protesters outside Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's office.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

After Gov. Mike Parson signed an eight-week abortion ban into law, opponents vowed to put the measure up for a statewide vote — similar to a successful effort in 2018 to repeal Missouri’s right-to-work law.

But there could be an obstacle: A clause making one part of the proposal go into effect right away.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

The ACLU of Missouri and the state’s public defender system have reached a deal meant to ensure that low-income defendants are properly represented when they go to court.

The agreement made public on Monday sets maximum caseloads for the state’s 500-plus public defenders, and allows them to turn down cases to stay within a time limit that is based on how much work should be spent defending different types of crimes. It also makes it clear that defendants must be screened quickly to see if they qualify for a public defender.

Police officers line up on Washington Ave. in downtown St. Louis on Sept. 28, 2018 as people protest against the Stockley verdict and against mass arrests during a protest the previous week.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7:15 p.m. with comments from St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner — Four St. Louis police officers were indicted on federal charges Thursday in connection with the assault of an undercover officer during protests related to the Jason Stockley court ruling in 2017.

The four St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers named in the indictment are Dustin Boone, 35, Bailey Colletta, 25, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27. All have been suspended without pay.

Street performer case still in the legal wings

Jul 12, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: U.S. District Judge Catherine D. Perry heard arguments Friday in a preliminary injunction hearing for Pence v. City of St. Louis. In this case, the American Civil Liberties Union is representing two street performers who object to the city’s busking policies.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In a major ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned on Wednesday the Defense of Marriage Act, declaring that legally married same-sex couples deserve the same federal benefits that go to all other married couples. The court's decision would allow same-sex married couples to file joint federal tax returns, obtain Social Security benefits and be exempted from estate taxes, among other things.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Questioning whether a student who is taking a course like drafting is really a danger to others, a federal judge has blocked most mandatory drug testing at Linn State Technical College.

The school instituted the testing in the fall of 2011, saying that its students are training for fields in which they will operate heavy machinery and will be in positions where impairment by drugs could pose significant threats to public safety.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 27, 2012 - The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, among other things. The Missouri constitution does so as well, saying that "no preference shall be given to nor any discrimination made against any church, sect or creed of religion, or any form of religious faith or worship."

Now on Aug. 7, primary voters will have to decide on Constitutional Amendment 2, commonly called the prayer amendment.

Voter photo ID lawsuit heard in Jefferson City

Mar 16, 2012
(via Flickr/ Daniel Morrison)

A lawsuit seeking to block a proposed constitutional amendment regarding voter identification in Missouri was heard today in Cole County.

The ballot measure was passed last year by the General Assembly and is scheduled to go before Missouri voters in November.  If approved, it would clear the way for lawmakers to pass enabling legislation to require voters to show a photo ID at the polls.  Tony Rothert is an attorney with the ACLU of Eastern Missouri.  He calls the ballot measure misleading.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 17, 2011 - Before this school year began, Linn State Technical College didn't have a drug-testing program or a chapter of the organization Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

Now it has both, though a lawsuit prompted a federal judge to suspend the testing, at least temporarily. The student chapter began after the school in central Missouri announced it would become the first college in the nation to test all incoming students for drugs, in what it called an effort to prepare them for a world of work where such tests are common.