Senate Committee Hears Pain Capable Abortion Bill and Considers Extending Medical Benefits for Postpartum Care

The Missouri Senate Committee on Seniors, Families and Children heard testimony this week on HB 1266, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Donna Lichtenegger (R-Cape Girardeau). The bill would ban abortions in Missouri at 20 weeks, the point at which credible medical evidence reveals unborn children can feel pain. The MCC testified in support of the bill.

The committee also heard testimony on HB 2280, sponsored by Rep. Marsha Haefner (R-St. Louis), that would extend medical coverage to postpartum mothers struggling with addiction from 60 days to one year to provide further treatment. If passed, the bill would give these mothers additional time to recover from their drug dependency, thereby creating a better home environment for their newborn children. The MCC also testified in support of this bill.

Both HB 1266 and HB 2280 provide vital protection for women and their unborn children. The MCC will be working for their passage in the closing weeks of the Missouri General Assembly.


Work Requirements for Food Stamps Discussed in Senate Committee

The Senate Committee on Seniors, Families and Children also heard HB 1486, sponsored by Rep. Hannah Kelly (R-Mountain Grove), which could result in the loss of food stamp benefits for thousands of families.  The bill would increase the penalties on those failing to meet federal work requirements in the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  

Federal law requires the State of Missouri to provide work training and job placement assistance in its SNAP program. However, Missouri lacks sufficient job centers around the state and currently only serves several thousand recipients. HB 1486 would require many more thousand to patriciate in this already over-loaded employment and training program.

The MCC testified in opposition to HB 1486 due to concerns that adults with children will be cut off from the program without being offered the assistance they need to get back into the workforce. For the poor, transportation, child care, and a lack of education and training can be hurdles to employment. The concern is that if adults lose their SNAP benefits, it will impact the children being raised in their homes.


I Believe That I May Understand

On Saturday, the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109). He is honored as a great doctor of the Church, but is also remembered for resisting attempts of Henry I to invest him as the Archbishop of Canterbury, an early example of the Church insisting on its authority (rather than the State’s) in ecclesial matters. For all his intellectual brilliance, however, St. Anselm is best remembered for his declaration, “I believe that I may understand.” See this video for more.


Tax Facts

Now that you’ve paid your income taxes for 2017, you might enjoy knowing some interesting facts connected to taxes:

  • The first income tax ever was in 1404 in England.
  • The first U.S. income tax started during the Civil War.
  • The 16th Amendment, ratified in 1913, established the first permanent U.S. income tax.
  • The estimated revenue from individual income taxes in 2018 is $1.7 trillion.
  • 90 percent of returns are expected to be filed electronically.
  • $2,925 is the average tax refund as of March 23, 2018.
  • The timetable for refunds with a paper return is seven weeks.
  • 60 percent of taxpayers hired professional help to file taxes in 2017.

The Ice Cream Man

Irish Poet Michael Longley is best known for his poems about the “troubles”, that tragic time when sectarian violence filled the streets of Belfast and the surrounding countryside. He composed The Ice Cream Man after getting back from a day hike of botanizing wildflowers and hearing from his daughter how they had killed the ice cream man who offered ice cream in 21 flavors. Listen to The Ice Cream Man.

Greitens Report Released; Next Steps Outlined

Late Wednesday afternoon, a special investigative committee of the Missouri House of Representatives issued a report on Governor Greitens’ affair with his hair stylist. In the report, the woman alleges that some of the sexual encounters with Greitens were not consensual. The committee concluded that the woman was “an overall credible witness.” The committee also heard from several other witnesses who corroborated the woman’s account.

Read the report herePLEASE NOTE: the report includes material of a sensitive and sexual nature.

In a press conference, Governor Greitens insisted the affair was completely consensual in nature. The governor declined to be interviewed by the House committee, which is within his constitutional rights, as the committee noted. The governor faces a felony charge for invasion of privacy, which will be considered separately by a criminal court in St. Louis.

After the report was issued, House Speaker Todd Richardson and other legislative leaders held a press conference. Richardson said the investigative committee was charged with gathering facts and trying to determine the credibility of witnesses. He vigorously disputed that the legislative process represented a “witch hunt.” He said the legislature is a separate branch of government that has its own role in considering misconduct by a governor.

Richardson said the investigative committee would continue its work but now would expand its mission to consider recommendations for any disciplinary action against the governor by the Missouri General Assembly. Meanwhile, according to Richardson, legislative leaders would, “begin the process of calling a special session so that the Legislature has the opportunity to consider any recommendations of the committee.”

For the Missouri General Assembly to call itself into special session will require the approval of three-fourths of the members of the Missouri House and the approval of three-fourths of the members of the Missouri Senate. Richardson said any special session, if approved, would not commence until legislators conclude their regular session on May 18. For more, read this AP article.


The Power of Impeachment

Section 1, Article VII of the Missouri Constitution declares that public officers, including the governor, are liable for impeachment “for crimes, misconduct, habitual drunkenness, willful neglect of duty, corruption in office, incompetency, or any offense involving moral turpitude or oppression in office.” Section 2, Article VII of the Missouri Constitution gives the Missouri House of Representatives “the sole power of impeachment.” If Greitens were impeached by the House, it would rest with the Missouri Senate to elect “a special commission of seven eminent jurists” to consider the removal of the governor.


“Raise the Age” Bills Pass Committee

This week, the House Judiciary Committee passed both the House and Senate versions of “Raise the Age” legislation. SB 793, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau), and HB 1255, sponsored by Rep. Nick Schroer (R-St. Charles), had a hearing the previous week. The committee voiced support for raising the age for juveniles to be tried in adult courts to 18. Missouri is one of only five states that still prosecutes all 17-year-olds in adult court, regardless of the crime.

The sticking point was how to fund the measure. The fiscal note estimates a price tag of $10 million when the bill is fully implemented in 2024. The committee added several amendments to the bill to help pay the cost of juvenile services, including a $2.00 surcharge on traffic violations, and the ability for prosecutors to charge convicted offenders a fine up to $500 if the victim was a child. The collected fees will be held in a separate fund, which will expire on August 28, 2024.


The Amazing Clifftop Monasteries of Central Greece

Central Greece is home to some amazing centuries-old clifftop monasteries. These Greek Orthodox monasteries are perched on the edge of the various cliffs of Meteora, a spectacular rock formation where monks and hermits have found refuge for over a thousand years. The entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and welcomes thousands of visitors each year. Take this photo tour to see these monasteries where faith and nature come together to praise the Lord.