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19 December 2011

Newman: 2011 Draws To A Close

As the year grows shorter and shorter, I’m wrapping up my legislative work in order to focus on the holidays and family time. The 2012 legislative session will begin January 4th in Jefferson City - just 16 days away.

As you may have seen in the media, the 2011 special session was a bust. The regional China Hub economic proposals were not supported by the House & Senate GOP leadership which resulted in numerous taxpayer-funded wasted days and a huge loss for the state AND the St. Louis region. The nationally publicized Facebook bill however was fixed leaving social communications policies up to individual school districts as they have been.

The presidential primary elections date change mandated by both the National Republican and Democratic parties did not pass in either regular or special session. Therefore the Democratic presidential primary election will remain on February 7th but the Missouri GOP has elected to convene via caucus on March 17th to meet their party’s requirement.

New members elected this past November are joining us in January. I’m thrilled to be working with one of my closest friends and longtime colleague, Tracy McCreery (D) who will be representing the 83rd district of Olivette and Overland. She will be sworn in on January 10th along with Judy Morgan (D-Kansas City), Brandon Ellington (D-Kansas City) and Chrissy Sommer (R-St. Charles). Their elections keep our House numbers the same – 57 Democrats and 107 Republicans.

My work continues: keeping our elections suppression-free, strengthening laws to keep children safe from sexual abuse, advocating for workplace rights for all and protecting women’s reproductive health decisions.

I’ve been speaking out loudly across the state against Voter photo ID proposals that would restrict current voters from being able to vote –the elderly, disabled, working poor, minorities, and students. These bills are filed every year and I promise you that my Democratic House Caucus will remain unified in opposition to voter suppression. Voter ID efforts will prevent many in your community or even in your own family from the most important voice that any of us have.

This summer I was appointed to the new Task Force on Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children – a commission created via legislation months before the media broke the horrors at Penn State and Syracuse University. I look forward to our first task force meeting on January 6th and working with a diverse group of children’s advocates on recommendations for Governor Nixon.

Equality rights matter a great deal to me – particularly in the work place. I’m hopeful that my equal pay enforcement bill will have another hearing this session. Gender and sexual orientation discrimination of any kind needs to belong to the past, not the present.

You may also continue to count on me to be a strong advocate protecting women’s reproductive health rights. I work closely with Missouri NARAL and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri to make sure that birth control & family planning is accessible to all women. It’s amazing to me in 2012 to have to keep at this fight but it’s my daughter’s and granddaughters’ generations who depend on it.

I keep all of you in mind every single day in Jefferson City, particularly on the House floor when I know my votes are crucial to your everyday lives. I am humbled to represent you in the state legislature and would love to hear from you anytime with your thoughts and concerns.

I wish all of you a very Happy Holidays however you may celebrate = Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and particularly Happy New Year.

May 2012 truly bring equality, prosperity, good health and joy to everyone.


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