For the second night in a row, a priority bill of majority Senate Republicans has been talked to the sidelines by minority Democrats. The bill is a combination of three other Senate bills. Monday night/Tuesday morning, Republicans could not bring a casino gambling bill to a floor vote in a chamber divided in several ways on several issues, with some divisions crossing party lines.
One part of the bill shelved Wednesday night emphasizes federally-defined abstinence-only sex education in the schools—although state law already says abstinence from sexual activity will be taught as the "preferred choice of behavior in relation to all sexual activity for unmarried pupils because it is the only method that is one hundred percent effective in preventing pregnancy." The second issue prohibits any school or its personnel and agents from providing abortion services and prohibits anybody connected to an abortion provider from having anything to do with sex education in the school. another section
Another part of the bill broadens the group that can be convicted in an abortion-related crime. The proposal says anyone who knowingly performs or helps perform an abortion is guilty of a crime.
The final part of the bill establishes the "Missouri Alternatives to Abortion Public Awareness Program" and narrowly defines the agencies eligible to be promoted.
Majority Leader Charlie Shields accuses Democrats of launching organized caucus-led filibusters against key Republican legislation and warns of "consequences." He express frustrations at the stalling methods used by Democrats to keep Republican bills on casino gambling, the sale of MOHELA assets, and the pro-life legislatiion stopped Wednesday night. Democrats say they are filibustering the proposals because Republicans are not willing to compromise enough on positions where there are sharply-held differences.
Shields has indicated Republicans have the muscle to shut down debate and go ti immediate votes on their priority legislation if Democrats continue their tactics. Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Senate almost two to one.
(The pro-life bill set aside Wednesday night is SBs 370, 375 & 432. Senator Delbert Scott of Lowry City is handling the bill on the floor although Senators Chris Koster, Harrisonville, and Gary Nodler, Joplin, were the original sponsors of parts of the combined bill).