November 8, 2021
Charter School Advocates Continue to Make Gains In Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Nov. 1 removed Missouri State Board of Education Vice President O. Victor Lenz Jr. of St. Louis and replaced him on the panel with Kerry Casey of Chesterfield, who serves on the board of a St. Louis charter school. Lenz, a Republican, had served on the board, the independent governing authority for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education since June 2013. However, since his term expired July 1, 2019, he was subject to replacement by the governor at any time. Casey, a vice president for the financial firm Exegy, is a member of the board of directors for the Knowledge is Power Program St. Louis, which operates charter schools in the city. Charter schools are taxpayer-funded public schools that operate independently of their local school district and are free from many of the state regulations that govern traditional public schools. Casey, also a Republican, can begin serving on the board immediately but faces Senate confirmation when the legislature reconvenes in January. If confirmed, her term will end July 1, 2027. While Casey replaces Lenz as a board member, the board itself will choose its next vice president at its Dec. 7 meeting. Charter schools and voucher programs remain an issue that somewhat divides the Democratic Party in Missouri. It's without question that "school choice" has been a major goal of the Republicans in Missouri for the past several years with the biggest potential loser in the argument being public schools.
MO Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Sexual Assault Victims Bill of Rights The Missouri Supreme Court on Nov. 2 heard arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of legislation enacted in 2020 to create a Sexual Assault Victims Bill of Rights. Enforcement of the law has been blocked pending a final resolution to the case. At issue is Senate Bill 569, which also modifies procedures for tracking evidence collection kits and makes various other changes to laws relating to sex crimes. State Public Defender Mary Fox sued to block the law just before it was to take effect on Aug. 28, 2020. Fox argued the provisions of the bill establishing certain rights for victims unconstitutionally restrict the ability of defense attorneys to represent defendants in sexual assault cases and infringe on the constitutional right to a fair trial. Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce, a Democrat ruled those provisions unconstitutional last December. However, Joyce rejected Fox’s claim that SB 569 should be invalidated in its entirety for violating constitutional prohibitions against bills that are changed from their original purpose or contain multiple subjects. Both sides in the case appealed, with Fox asking the Supreme Court to strike down all of SB 569, and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office asking for reinstatement of the blocked provisions. The court could also uphold the trial judge’s approach of striking down some provisions while preserving others. The court will issue a decision at a later date. The case is Mary Fox, et al., v. State of Missouri, et al. Jackson County Democrats Holiday Party SAVE THE DATE: Thursday, December 9 6:00 - 8:00pm Pipefitters Local 533 8600 Hillcrest KCMO, 64138 Join us for a casual celebration with light food and drinks. All donations will go toward our staff and voter registration fund for the 2022 election cycle. We'll have a number of elected officials joining us and will hear some brief remarks about what's happening in the county and what to expect in the upcoming session in Jefferson City. This is a great event to bring new people out who want to get engaged in the Democratic Party for the first time.
State of the County Address This Week
Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. will deliver the State of the County address on Jackson County's YouTube channel (@JacksonCountyMO) Wednesday, November 10 at 2:00 PM CST. Tune in to hear about Jackson County's progress in 2021 and plans for the future of our community.
Know of events (live or virtual) that our readers may want to attend? Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be featured in our next edition.
How Racism Hurts Us All and how to win an America that Works for EveryoneMonday, November 15
Featuring Heather McGhee
Heartland Alliance for Progress is co-sponsoring this event, with The Missouri Workers Center, the new statewide Missouri organization of low wage workers.