Friday Forums are Back!
The Corrupting Power of Money in Policymaking:
And what we can do about it
The Highlands Golf Course Inside Forest Park
Friday Forums are Back!
Make note of the different date!!!! Its MARCH 10th
Policing: Creating a Change
WHEN: Friday, March 10th at 12pm (This is a week early due to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th in Dogtown)
WHERE: The Highlands Golf Course inside Forest Park, 5163 Clayton Ave.
Representative Brandon Ellington: State Rep from Kansas City
Representative Shamed Dogan (Invited): State Rep from Ballwin
Metropolitan Congregations United
Mustafa Abdullah: ACLU
CEU’s Available for Social Workers
Lunch Available for $12
RSVP to Christine Woody Christine@empowermissouri.org
On November 8, 2016, Missouri voters have the opportunity to pass or defeat five proposed amendments to the Missouri Constitution and one statute change via petition initiative. The General Assembly’s long-standing failure to address Missouri’s outdated, unfair, and inadequate revenue system is at the root of several measures. View a printable PDF. Here is a summary of these six ballot measures and concerns that relate to justice:
This is the fourth time since 1984 that Missouri voters have been asked to authorize a one-tenth-cent statewide sales and use tax to support soil and water conservation programs and operation and maintenance of state parks and historic sites. By the wording of the 2006 vote to retain this tax, this measure will appear on our ballot every ten years, so we vote in 2016 and again in 2026, etc.
While Empower Missouri advocates that a well-structured progressive income tax system is the most just way to fund the common good, our Board of Directors does urge a yes vote on Amendment 1. Eliminating the tax would only save $20 in a year for a family with a take-home income of $20,000 – if they spent every penny of their income in Missouri. Without the $90 million that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources receives from this tax annually, lawmakers would have to cut funding to soil and water conservation and state parks or fund them out of general revenue, reducing the amount available to essentials like education, health care and public safety.
Many Empower Missouri members took action to impose limits on the amounts individual donors can give candidates by voting yes on Proposition A in November 1994. However, in 2008, the General Assembly repealed those limits. House Bill 1038 passed on a mostly party line vote, and then-Gov. Matt Blunt signed it into law.
Amendment 2 would again cap campaign giving. Individual donors would be prohibited from giving a candidate for statewide office, state senate, state representative or judicial office more than $2,600 per election. Individual donors also would be barred from giving more than $25,000 per election to the same political party. Those limits would be adjusted for inflation, and additional campaign regulations would be established.
Empower Missouri supports campaign finance limits. Amendment 2 is weaker than we prefer and contains drafting errors that may lead to costly litigation after the vote.
If ratified by voters, Amendment 3 would phase in an additional tax of 60 cents per pack on all cigarette brands and levy an additional wholesale fee on certain discount brands. The new tax would generate up to $374 million annually, constitutionally earmarked for early childhood education programs, early childhood health care and smoking cessation. The levy on discount brands relates to what “Big Tobacco” calls a loophole, allowing some companies to avoid escrow payments that “Big Tobacco” pays. “Little Tobacco” argues that they never signed on to the agreement that “Big Tobacco” signed (which offered “Big Tobacco” protections from litigation for past bad actions).
Empower Missouri members supporting Amendment 3 point to our Legislature’s failure to adequately fund early childhood education. Extensive research proves the value of such an investment. Our members opposing Amendment 3 highlight language about abortion, stem cell therapies, and U.S. residency in the measure that they find offensive or potentially damaging. There are also fears of how a new Early Childhood Commission would handle distribution of public funds to private or religious child care providers. Presently state subsidies to low-income families may be spent at public and private, licensed and unlicensed, religious and secular child care providers.
We urge our members to recognize that others have taken their positions out of concerns for justice. Please study this issue carefully and be an informed voter. See www.raiseyourhandsforkids.org and http://www.badformissouri.com/.
Amendment 4 would constitutionally prohibit state and local governments from charging sales or use taxes for services that were not already subject to such taxes as of Jan. 1, 2015. This is a preemptive strike against repeated attempts by super-wealthy Rex Sinquefield to replace the income tax with a higher sales tax on virtually everything. We are not fans of sales taxes to fund the common good. Still Missouri Budget Project does urge a no vote for reasons that may be found at http://www.mobudget.org/tax-issues-on-the-november-ballot/. We do agree that constitutionally tying our own hands as to how our state may respond to future economic realities holds many dangers.
Amendment 6 would weaken current strong voting rights in our state constitution by allowing imposition of photo voter identification rules. Federal courts have increasingly acknowledged that such laws do nothing to reduce fraud while unfairly depriving low-income voters, disproportionately People of Color, of their constitutional rights.
DEFEAT OF AMENDMENT 6 IS AN EMPOWER MISSOURI PRIORITY FOR 2016.
Prop A is a phased in 23-cent increase in tobacco tax, promised to transportation, put on the ballot by tobacco sellers as a strategic move to defeat a larger increase to our lowest-in-the-nation tobacco tax. It is set up in a way that any future attempt to change tobacco taxes or to strike down any part of Prop A will invalidate it. Lawmakers could clearly use these funds for programs other than transportation also. Please vote NO.
Join the Empower Missouri St. Louis Chapter at its January 2016 Friday Forum
After Ferguson: Criminal Justice Reforms are Moving
WHEN: Friday, January 15, 2016 * 12:00pm- 1:30pm
WHERE: The Highlands Golf Course inside Forest Park * 5163 Clayton Ave.
Senator Jamilah Nasheed- Ban the Box Legislation
Mustafa Abdullah, ACLU- Fair Policing Initiatives
Sr. Ellen Orf, Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty- Death Penalty
Representative Gina Mitten- Expungement of Records
Lunch available for $12.
CEH’s available for Social Workers
RSVP to Christine Woody 573-690-7662 or Christine@empowermissouri.org
Join the Empower Missouri – St. Louis Chapter for its
October Friday Forum
Minimum Wage Passed in the City: Now What?
Friday, October 16, 2015
At the Highlands Golf Course inside Forest Park
Megan Ellyia Green— St. Louis City Board of Aldermen
Adonis Reddick— Founder, Alternative to Sheltered Adapted Workshops
Richard von Glahn— Jobs with Justice
Rebeccca Bolte— Small business owner on Cherokee St.
Lunch Buffet for $12
CEH’s for Social Workers Available
RSVP to Christine Woody firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-690-7662
Join Empower Missouri’s St. Louis Chapter for the first Friday forum of the new school year!
Municipal Court Reform: No More Debtors’ Prisons
** As the new Municipal Court laws go into effect come and learn what changes will be taking place and what affect these changes will have on you and on the community. Also, learn how you can be a part of these changes taking place! **
Friday, September 18, 2015 12:00-pm- 1:30pm
At The Highlands Golf Course inside Forest Park, 5163 Clayton Ave., St. Louis, MO
Brendan Roediger, Saint Louis University School of Law
Thomas Harvey, ArchCity Defenders
Forum is Free, Lunch Buffet available for $12 ( includes drink and dessert)
Free Continuing Ed hours for social workers available!
RSVP to Christine Woody Christine@empowermissouri.org or 573-690-7662
FOR MORE INFO: CLICK HERE