An editorial writer for the Warrensburg Daily Star Journal succinctly summarized the Republican majority’s responses to each of those three most important needs [crumbling highways, support for public schools, ethics reform]: “Lawmakers did nothing, next to nothing and worse than nothing.” Exactly.
If only they had stopped there. They didn’t, of course.
Instead, the grand finale of the session was the passage of a proposed constitutional amendment to require photo identification for voting. There’s no evidence of any fraud that requires correction, but plenty of evidence that the folks most likely to be turned away from the polls would be poor or minority. Which party would you expect to lose those votes?
The two most popular targets this year were Planned Parenthood and our university. In both cases, the charge was led by Boone County’s own Sen. Kurt Schaefer, who wants very much to be the state’s attorney general (with, I’m guessing, his sights set a good deal higher). In both cases, the senator was a bully.
In the Planned Parenthood case, a federal judge eventually called him on it, ruling that “political pressure” pushed a state agency into revoking the license of the organization’s Columbia abortion clinic. No extra credit for identifying the loudest source of that political pressure.
In the university’s case, Senator Schaefer was more successful. In addition to a fiscal penalty, he sponsored and won partisan support for a special committee with no apparent qualifications for the job to scrutinize the university’s operations before the next session.
Even more troubling was the report a couple of weeks ago in which investigators for the American Association of University Professors concluded that the Board of Curators “violated basic standards of academic due process” in firing faculty member Melissa Click.
The investigators attributed that violation to “legislative intrusion.” The leader of the intrusion? Senator Schaefer.
(Excerpted from Columbia Missourian 5/26/16 )