Judy Sherry: On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019

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“…After Sandy Hook we were all quite sure that something would be done. Now is the time. Something would be done. And nothing was done…”

Wednesday evening on the Penn Valley campus of the Metropolitan Community Colleges Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) hosted a town hall of sorts on gun violence. The community event included elected officials, law enforcement officials, and leaders of community groups.

Judy Sherry, Grandparents Against Gun Violence.

Judy Sherry, Grandparents Against Gun Violence:

…We’re already hearing the usual responses from those unwilling to face the facts about gun violence. Of course, mental health and video games ae to blame for these horrendous events. And background checks simply don’t work. But data tells us something different. What we know is just four percent of gun crimes are committed by people with known diagnosed mental illness. Now we would certainly say that anybody who commits one of these crimes is, at that moment, mentally unfit. But these, this is not an invasion, not an issue of people all over the country afflicted with mental health issues that are causing the gun violence. We know video games, they’re played the world over. Yet we know that Americans are twenty-two times more likely to be killed with a gun than people in any other developed nation. That’s a crime. I’m beginning to wonder if we get to say ‘developed nation’ too much longer. That is a crime. And background checks? No, they don’t always work. But speed limits don’t always work either. I’m here to tell you that. But we don’t say, ‘let’s not have speed limits anymore’ because some people break the law. You just do it…

Previously:

On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019 (August 8, 2019)

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker (D): On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019 (August 8, 2019)

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D): Press Availability – On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019 (August 8, 2019)

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas: On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019 (August 9, 2019)

Rep. Peter Merideth (D): about that Sunshine Law…

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A release, yesterday, from Representative Peter Merideth (D):

State Rep. Peter Merideth
80th District
peter.merideth@house.mo.gov

For Immediate Release:
Aug. 8, 2019

Five months later, Schmitt hasn’t provided requested legal opinion
Attorney general shows pattern of protecting GOP officials in Sunshine Law cases

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – More than five months after state Rep. Peter Merideth submitted a request for a legal opinion from Attorney General Eric Schmitt regarding whether the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is violating state law and the Missouri Constitution by preventing public access to certain lawmaker records, Schmitt has yet to respond – even though his office promised to do so with 90 days.

Yesterday, State Auditor Nicole Galloway noted that Schmitt, a Republican, likewise has failed to timely act on a request she submitted on May 7 seeking the attorney general’s opinion on whether government entities can assert the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as justification to close portions of public documents that are open under Missouri’s Sunshine Law. Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s office recently invented the novel legal argument, which has been ridiculed by experts in open records law.

“Eric Schmitt has established an unfortunate pattern of looking the other way when Republican elected officials violate the law by shielding public records from public scrutiny,” said Merideth, D-St. Louis. “As attorney general, it is his duty to fight for transparency and protect Missourians. Instead he has chosen to protect officials of his own party and keep Missourians from holding their state government accountable.”

Merideth submitted his request for an attorney general’s opinion on March 7. Other than a same-day letter acknowledging receipt of the request and promising to respond to respond “within 90 days,” Merideth has received no further information from Schmitt regarding this issue.

“Missouri law requires the attorney general to issue legal opinions when requested by other elected officials,” Merideth said. “Eric Schmitt needs to do his job.”

Merideth’s original opinion request and the attorney general’s letter of acknowledgment are attached.

-30-

The original request for an opinion from Attorney General Eric Schmitt (r):

Request for Attorney General Opinion

1. Information about requestor: Representative Peter Merideth represents Missouri House District 80. He was first elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2016, reelected in 2018, and currently serves as a member of the 100th General Assembly.

2. Official capacity of requestor: Rep. Merideth is a duly elected State Representative serving the constituents of St. Louis City residing in Missouri House of Representatives District 80. He currently serves as a member of the 100th General Assembly, First Regular Session. His principal office is in Cole County, Missouri, in the Missouri Capitol building.

3. The question of LAW upon which I request your legal opinion is as follows: Does Rule 127 of the rules governing proceedings before the Missouri House of Representatives for the 100th General Assembly, as set forth in House Resolution 7, passed by the Missouri House of Representatives on January 15, 2019, violate Article III, Section 19(b) of the Missouri Constitution?

4. A complete statement of the FACTS giving rise to this question is as follows: Constitutional Amendment 1 (“Clean Missouri”) On November 6, 2018, 62 percent of Missouri voters approved Constitutional Amendment 1, also known as the “Clean Missouri” Amendment. Among its provisions, Constitutional Amendment 1 required all legislative records, defined broadly, to be subject to the state open meetings and records law, known as the Missouri Sunshine Law. Subsequent to its approval, Article III, Section 19 of the Missouri Constitution was amended to include subsection (b), which states: “Legislative records shall be public records and subject to generally applicable state laws governing public access to public records, including the Sunshine Law. Legislative records include, but are not limited to, all records, in whatever form or format, of the official acts of the general assembly, of the official acts of legislative committees, of the official acts of members of the general assembly, of individual legislators, their employees and staff, of the conduct of legislative business and all records that are created, stored or distributed through legislative branch facilities, equipment or mechanisms, including electronic. Each member of the general assembly is the custodian of legislative records under the custody and control of the member, their employees and staff. The chief clerk of the house or the secretary of the senate are the custodians for all other legislative records relating to the house and the senate, respectively.” House Rule 127 On January 15, 2019, the Missouri House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 7, which details the rules governing proceedings before the Missouri House of Representatives for the 100th General Assembly. House Resolution 7 included a new rule, Rule 127, “House Records,” which purports to grant Members of the Missouri House of Representatives the authority to close constituent case files, which it defined broadly, as well as records containing caucus strategy, which it did not define. The rule states: “Members may keep constituent case files, and records of the caucus of the majority or minority party of the house that contain caucus strategy, confidential. Constituent case files include any correspondence, written or electronic, between a member and a constituent, or between a member and any other party pertaining to a constituent’s grievance, a question of eligibility for any benefit as it relates to a particular constituent, or any issue regarding a constituent’s request for assistance.” Sunshine Request On March 2, 2019, Rep. Peter Merideth, who is currently an elected official in the Missouri House of Representatives, received two requests for legislative records pursuant to the Missouri Sunshine law. The first request specifically asked for emails purportedly, though likely fraudulently, sent to Rep. Merideth using his constituent’s email address. The second request specifically asked for emails, including attachments to said emails, sent from Democratic caucus staff and leadership to Rep. Merideth in regards to certain bills filed in 2018.

5. List each and every governmental entity involved in this request:
Rep. Peter Merideth The House Minority Caucus.

6. Which of the entities listed in response to Question 5 have attorneys paid with public funds? For each entity listed, attach a copy of the written legal opinion of each such attorney on the question involved herein. Rep. Merideth is represented in this matter by the House Minority Caucus Counsel, Casey Millburg. As an employee of the Missouri House of Representatives, Ms. Millburg is paid with public funds. Ms. Millburg’s written legal opinion on the question is attached.

7. State in detail how the question of law relates to your official position or to the discharge of your duties. Pursuant Article III, Section 19(b) of the Missouri Constitution, each member of the general assembly is the custodian of legislative records under the custody and control of the member, their employees and staff. As the custodian of such records for his office, Rep. Merideth is responsible for determining how to comply with Sunshine requests made for his office’s legislative records. Further, pursuant to this subsection, in doing so Rep. Merideth must comply with the provisions of the state’s open records laws. As a duly elected official serving as a Member of the Missouri House of Representatives, Rep. Merideth is also subject to the rules governing proceedings before the Missouri House of Representatives for the 100th General Assembly. As set forth in House Resolution 7 passed by the General Assembly on January 15, 2019, Rule 127 purports to give Rep. Merideth and all Members of the Missouri House of Representatives the power to determine whether or not to release constituent case files of the type at issue in Mr. Pedroli’s request in response to a Sunshine request for such records.

8. Is any litigation pending involving the issues raised in your opinion request? We are aware of no pending litigation involving the specific issues in this request.

9. If the answer to Question 8 is “yes” list the name of case, court in which it is pending and docket number of case: See above.

It ain’t exactly rocket surgery.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas: On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019

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“…What they’re trying to do is tell you, stop worrying about guns. What they’re trying to do is tell you, nah, nah, you’re not empowered to make a difference…”

Wednesday evening on the Penn Valley campus of the Metropolitan Community Colleges Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) hosted a town hall of sorts on gun violence. The community event included elected officials, law enforcement officials, and leaders of community groups.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.

Mayor Lucas:

…What you are seeing on the streets, and I know there are a lot of victims, there are a lot of people touched, but I know in the community I’m from you are seeing nothing less, nothing short of a mass genocide. Right? You are seeing nothing short of a devaluing of lives, particularly in black lives. And what we’re seeing in our community is consistently, year after year, is people that are trying to tell us that doesn’t matter. That it doesn’t need to change. What I’m saying right now is, no, it does. It does…

…You know what I want the next group of people to say [in the future]? To say, wow, it’s different now…

Previously:

On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019 (August 8, 2019)

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker (D): On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019 (August 8, 2019)

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D): Press Availability – On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019 (August 8, 2019)

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D): Press Availability – On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019

“…Number one, there is a great deal of interest, uh, in they issue of, not only mass, uh, killings, which has become an epidemic in our country, but people are concerned about the violence and the, uh, the shootings that are taking place, uh, in small and large, uh, towns, uh, all over this nation. And we’ve got to do something about it. And, and in some cases, uh, government, is the problem. Uh, I mean, if, if everybody in, in our state is encouraged to walk around with a conceal weapon, uh, what should we expect other than, uh, an increase in the number of homocides?…”

Yesterday evening on the Penn Valley campus of the Metropolitan Community Colleges Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) hosted a town hall of sorts on gun violence. The community event included elected officials, law enforcement officials, and leaders of community groups.

Representative Cleaver (D) took questions from the media after the two hour long town hall.

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D).

Representative Cleaver (D):

…I think that it’s always good for cities around the, uh, country to know that there are other cities, uh, you know, expressing support to them and offering comfort. Uh, and so, I think that, that certainly was, was appropriate. The other was to get people involved, actively involved, involved in doing something. People feel helpless, they know there’s a problem, and they can’t figure out what to do. Well, we gave them some things, uh, to do tonight…

…This could very well be a turning point. I’m, I’m not sure yet…

…What I do know is that the President’s rhetoric is not helpful…

Previously:

On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019 (August 8, 2019)

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker (D): On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019 (August 8, 2019)

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker (D): On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019

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“…I’ll start off with telling you that I’m mad. I’m not hopeless. The day I become hopeless will be the day I turn over the baton to someone else. Because you deserve leaders who are not hopeless. Because this problem is not hopeless. It’s hard, but it is not hopeless. We must demand more of our leaders [applause]…”

Yesterday evening on the Penn Valley campus of the Metropolitan Community Colleges Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) hosted a town hall of sorts on gun violence. The community event included elected officials, law enforcement officials, and leaders of community groups.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker (D).

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker (D):

…I want to be specific about what I mean about that. Jefferson City has passed, over about the past fifteen years, a series of law that have greatly impacted my work and my life as a prosecutor. These laws were not initiated, even though they greatly impact my business, they were not enacted by or screaming by prosecutors to have these changes. No prosecutor in the State of Missouri asked for ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. Even though prosecutors must run on a political platform – you’re either a Republican or a Democrat in the State of Missouri when you run for elected office as a prosecutor. But not one of those elected officials went to that capitol building and said, we want ‘Stand Your Ground Law’ in Missouri. So, why do we have it? Why did that happen? [voices: “NRA.”]…

…It’s time for us to move this further. Because gun laws matter. It is one thing, it is one tool. But it does matter. Because if you look at Missouri it is not an accident that we are in this position. It is not an accident. It is because we have deregulated weapons to a point that it is dangerous here. It’s dangerous. You deserve better. You deserve better, you should demand better of those who represent you and those who don’t…

Previously:

On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019 (August 8, 2019)

On Gun Violence – Kansas City – August 7, 2019

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Yesterday evening on the Penn Valley campus of the Metropolitan Community Colleges Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) hosted a town hall of sorts on gun violence. The community event included elected officials, law enforcement officials, and leaders of community groups. Approximately 250 individuals and members of activist groups from the Kansas City metropolitan area attended. Media from the Kansas City metropolitan area covered the two hour long town hall.

“Do something”

“We must stop killing each other”

Patty Lewis (left), a Democratic Party candidate in the 25th Legislative District.

Representative Ashley Bland Manlove (D).

Patty Lewis (left), a Democratic Party candidate in the 25th legislative District, and Elad Gross (right), a Democratic Party candidate for Missouri Attorney General.

Representative Richard Brown (D).

Kansas City, Missouri Police Department Chief Richard Smith (left), Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) (center), and Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker (D) (right).

Speakers included Representative Cleaver (D), MCC Chancellor Dr. Kimberly Beatty, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Kansas City Police Chief Richard Smith, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, and the leadership (and members) of Moms Demand Action – Missouri, Grandparents against Gun Violence, Mothers in Charge, March for Our Lives – KC, Aim 4Peace, and the Ad-Hoc Group Against Crime.

Uh, campaign contributions are a public record

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To assert or imply otherwise you’ve got to be a disingenuous hack or an idiot. Take your pick.

Yesterday, from a right winger:

Erick Erickson @EWErickson
This is why political donations should no longer be made public. The left is weaponizing transparency to ensure donors to their political opponents are harassed, boycotted, or worse.
[….]
1:56 PM · Aug 6, 2019

A right wingnut hack and an idiot.

In the twelve years we’ve been covering politics here at Show Me Progress, from day one, we’ve covered campaign contributions. Twelve years ago:

They’re public records. Period.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): Market Facilitation Program – USDA

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The Market Facilitation Program [pdf] (MFP) provides direct payments to help corn, cotton, sorghum, soybean, wheat, dairy, hog, shelled almonds and fresh sweet cherries producers who have been directly impacted by illegal retaliatory tariffs, resulting in the loss of traditional exports. The MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and is under the administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA).

From the Environmental Working Group Farm Subsidy Database:

“…Total Market Facilitation Program payments in Missouri totaled $432 million from 2018-2019…”

USDA subsidy information for Hartzler Farms Inc, Harrisonville, MO 64701

Market Facilitation Program – Corn [2018] $800
Market Facilitation Program – Soybeans [2018] $104,794
Market Facilitation Program – Wheat [2018] $3,322

Total Market Facilitation Program [2018] $108,916

In August of 2018:

A Conversation with President Trump about Trade
August 3, 2018 Press Release

HARRISONVILLE, MO – Last week I had the opportunity to visit with the President about the challenges our farmers and ranchers are facing and the implications of increased tariffs. Although it is clear we must put a stop to China’s blatant violation of international trade laws, the current situation is precarious for rural America, and we need to open other markets to help offset our losses as soon as possible.

In my conversation with the President, I stressed that Missouri farmers are patriots who understand the need for better trade deals that are both free and fair. They love America and are willing to hang tough to help make our nation stronger. However, farm country is hurting. Over the past five years, we have seen a fifty percent decrease in net farm income stemming from persistently low commodity prices. The ag community can only handle so much. Farmers need to see substantial progress in bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations, new market access for their goods, and certainty that new trading patterns lead to long term growth.

[….]

Evidently, on a personal level for Representative Hartzler (r), $108,916.00 in 2018 Market Facilitation Program subsidies helps.

The application [pdf] (yes, you had to apply) for the 2018 Market Facilitation Program subsidy opened in September 2018.

Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) [2015 file photo].

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): try again

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In 2017 Japan had one of the lowest rates of death by gun violence in the world, 0.04 per 100,000 people. In the same year the rate of death by gun violence in the United States was 4.43 per 100,000 people. The data excluded deaths in armed conflict and by self harm.

Japan, among several other countries, has a higher per capita spending rate on video games than the United States.

In 2012:

Ten-country comparison suggests there’s little or no link between video games and gun murders
By Max Fisher
December 17, 2012

…video game consumption, based on international data, does not seem to correlate at all with an increase in gun violence. That countries where video games are popular also tend to be some of the world’s safest (probably because these countries are stable and developed, not because they have video games). And we also have learned, once again, that America’s rate of firearm-related homicides is extremely high for the developed world…

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r) [2016 file photo].

A statement from Representative Vicky Hartzler (r):

Hartzler Statement on Weekend Shootings
August 5, 2019 Press Release

“The murders in Texas and Ohio this weekend are symptoms of a culture of violence and anger that is gripping America. From entertainment and video games that consume the attention of our young people to murder in our cities, violence is pervasive in America and must be addressed. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the glorification of violence and murder in our society today, and our efforts to address mental health issues have just begun. My husband and I are deeply saddened at the loss of life and grieve for the families of the victims.”

“…From entertainment and video games that consume the attention of our young people to murder in our cities, violence is pervasive in America and must be addressed…”

Nope, it’s not video games. What could it be?

In a study published in 2000 (using data from 1993 and 1994):

Firearm Availability and Homicide Rates across 26 High Income Countries [pdf]
David Hemenway, PhD, and Matthew Miller, MD, MPH, ScD

Of all developed nations, the United States has the most privately owned guns, and the highest rates of homicide. Approximately two thirds of murder victims in the United States are killed with a gun.

[….]

Table 1 Homicide Rates for 26 High-Income Countries

Country Year Population (in thousands) Total Homicide Rate per 100,000 Suicides with a Firearm (%)

United States 1993 257,783 9.93 60.9
[….]
Japan 1994 124,069 0.62 0.2

[….]

…Results from our simple regressions of 26 developed nations show a highly significant positive correlation between total homicide rates and both proxies for gun availability…

…In our analysis, we find, for industrialized countries, a very strong and highly significant association between gun availability levels and total homicide rates. The relationship holds even though the number of observations is fairly small (n = 26) and the measures of gun availability are only proxies. The relationship does not seem to be attributable entirely to the United States—which has more guns and more homicides than other developed nations—because the results often hold when the United States is excluded from the analysis. More guns are associated with more homicides across industrialized countries.

“…We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the glorification of violence and murder in our society today…”

There’s glorification going on all right. Take a look at the NRA.

Try again.

Campaign Finance: why nothing will change

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Today at the Missouri Ethics Commission:

C091068 08/04/2019 House Republican Campaign Committee, Inc HCA Missouri Good Government Fund 101 E. High St. P.O. Box 305 Jefferson City MO 65102 8/3/2019 $10,000.00

C091068 08/04/2019 House Republican Campaign Committee, Inc CFM Insurance, Inc. P.O. Box 968 Concordia MO 64020
8/3/2019 $15,000.00

C091068 08/04/2019 House Republican Campaign Committee, Inc Dealers Interested in Government P.O. Box 245 Jefferson City MO 65102 8/3/2019 $15,000.00

C091068 08/04/2019 House Republican Campaign Committee, Inc AGC of MO PAC 6330 Knox Industrial Dr. Saint Louis MO 63139 8/3/2019 $10,000.00

C091068 08/04/2019 House Republican Campaign Committee, Inc MOSFA PAC INC 121 Madison St. Jefferson City MO 65101 8/3/2019 $10,000.00

C091068 08/04/2019 House Republican Campaign Committee, Inc FEAPAC of Missouri 7340 W. Memorial Oklahoma City OK 73142 8/3/2019 $10,000.00