Editorial Summary: Missouri | The Kansas City Star

Kansas City Star. May 25, 2022.

Editorial: From Texas to Kansas to Missouri, ‘pro-life’ politicians do nothing as gun violence rages

The mind wavers, the words waver, the anger rises and nothing is done. Nothing. Nothing. American children are dead, and still nothing.

This time it’s in Texas, an elementary school. Kids. At least 19 children dead, not including the killer. Also two adults.

Ten days ago it was a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. Before that, a church. At other times, a concert, nightclub, mall, movie theater, high school, workplace, military base, baseball diamond, home. Always nothing.

“What are we doing? Why are we here?” Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked Tuesday night. “It only happens in this country and nowhere else. Nowhere else do little children go to school thinking they might be shot that day.

To which we must respond to Senator Murphy, in appalling and shameful terms: We are doing nothing.

Nearly 10 years ago, a gunman killed 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School and six adults. Surely, most Americans thought, the nation’s political community would come together and do something to prevent a similar massacre, in another place, at another time.

These Americans were wrong. Congress and state lawmakers were unmoved by the thought of dead children in Newtown, Connecticut. Somehow, the promise of guns anytime, for any reason, anywhere turned out to be more important.

And so they acted. In Missouri, lawmakers have declared all federal gun regulations null and void. The state said it would prosecute law enforcement officers who took action to reduce the carnage, even as bloodshed in the state’s two largest cities.

Kansas passed its own Second Amendment protection law. It does not have a sophomore protection law.

Americans know that some gun regulations work. Universal background checks and a ban on the sale and manufacture of certain multi-shot weapons would not prevent all mass shootings, but they could prevent one. Just one. Or save a life.

It’s a pro-life stance you won’t hear from pro-life politicians.

It’s also constitutional, whatever the gun lobby tells you. “The right guaranteed by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in 2008. “The right was not a right to possess and carry any weapon of any any way and for any purpose.”

This is not what lawmakers believe. That’s not how they acted. Their enthusiasm for expanding gun ownership, no matter the cost, has aided and abetted the slaughter of innocent people, including children in Connecticut, Florida and now Texas.

The second amendment, it seems, is absolute. If school children have to die to protect him, so be it.

We all know what comes next. Gun fetishists will accuse Americans of “politicizing” a tragedy. This is not the time to talk about it, we will hear. It’s reckless. Challenging. Unconstitutional.

Honest Americans – those who are tired of fearing for their lives and the lives of their children – will reject this nonsense. America must not be the only place where children are slaughtered in cold blood. Americans must demand accountability and gun reform, and kick out politicians who pay lip service to the dead but make more bloodshed inevitable.

Sen. Roy Blunt took $4.5 million from the National Rifle Association and related entities, according to the nonprofit Brady Campaign. Senator Josh Hawley: $1.4 million. More than 1,000 people die each year from gun violence in Missouri.

Senator Roger Marshall got an A+ rating from the NRA and bragged about it.

And children are murdered, and we do nothing.

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St. Louis Post-Expedition. May 30, 2022.

Editorial: Again, Missouri is the worst for puppy mills. Leaders can change that.

For the 10th year in a row, the Humane Society of the United States has named Missouri the national epicenter of a puppy mill industry that profits from inhumanity. The organization’s new annual report ranks 100 puppy mill operations across the country that dog owners should avoid — and with 26 of them in Missouri, cementing state leadership once again in this dark business.

Missouri policymakers could change that if they wanted to, erasing a stain that has marred the Show Me State for decades. It would simply be a matter of standing up to the big agricultural interests that defend a status quo of cruelty. But so far, the state’s Republican and mostly rural leaders have shown more interest in playing culture war games than addressing this puppy war.

Missouri has a long and sad history of allowing the unfettered proliferation of puppy mills: large-scale operations in which dogs are raised in dark, crowded conditions with a lack of adequate basic care. It’s essentially an extension of a Missouri philosophy that says all aspects of agriculture — including operations of a commercial and industrial nature — should be virtually untouchable by government regulation.

In 2010, Missouri voters finally had enough and approved a referendum imposing tough new standards on puppy mills, including setting limits on the number of dogs and creating standards of care. The legislature quickly returned and reversed much of the reform the voters had imposed. Years later, Missouri lawmakers pushed through and narrowly won a constitutional amendment billed as a “right to the farm,” but which critics say actually pets big farming interests — including puppy mills — for the benefit of family farms and small holdings. .

It’s against this backdrop that the Humane Society launched its annual “Horrible Hundred” puppy mills nationwide this month, more than one in four of which are located in Missouri. Among them is a breeder who, despite handing over 83 dogs to the state in two years due to poor conditions, is still active.

“Missouri has always been at the heart of the puppy mill industry from the beginning,” John Goodwin, head of the Humane Society, told the Springfield News-Leader. He said it’s all tied to a belief in the farming community that “if we protect dogs, they’re going to be required to give pigs and chickens enough room (to) turn around.” They saw this as something that could cause other animals to be treated better, which affects the almighty dollar.

Whether it’s so complicated or so simple that Republican officials in the state focus on partisan issues to the exclusion of mere compassion, the fact remains that Missouri has established itself as a tormenting state. these defenseless animals more than any other. Missouri leaders can change that by restoring, to begin with, the standards that voters put in place more than a decade ago. It’s just a matter of whether they want to.

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St. Joseph News-Press. May 31, 2022.

Editorial: Call it by its name

For those of us who live in cities, it’s easy to say, “Bring in the wind power.

When you have 150-foot towers bringing 4,000 megawatts of electricity near your house, there’s a certain reluctance that comes with the surface. You must feel for owners who are in the path of the Grain Belt Express transmission line.

These are not NIMBYs or people who automatically oppose green power. Most of them live close to nature and appreciate the productive value of the land and its inherent beauty.

But it is their land and they should be able to decide how it is used. If it’s necessary for a public good like a highway or a utility right of way, they’re entitled to compensation.

You might point out several benefits of Grain Belt, the 780-mile transmission project bringing wind power from Kansas to people farther east.

Customers on the receiving side get many benefits. But who, exactly? Unlike something more tangible like gasoline, it’s hard to see where the electricity is going on the grid, but the fact that Grain Belt will end near Indiana suggests that many of its beneficiaries are there and not here.

Invenergy, the for-profit company building Grain Belt, may well benefit when it starts selling electricity.

But about 570 northern Missouri landowners might not see it that way. They fear reduced property values ​​and a diminished quality of rural life for a project that proposed to use rural Missouri as a west-to-east energy highway.

Many of these landowners have fought Grain Belt for a decade or more in county commission meetings, before the Missouri Public Service Commission and, more recently, in the Missouri Legislature.

They have had some victories and some setbacks, most recently the legislature passing eminent domain reform that targets future projects but does little to stop Grain Belt. This has always been the primary focus of these landowners, but it seemed to evaporate during this year’s session.

Maybe that’s how it goes. These landowners have seen some success in their quest, including an increase in the amount of power that will be made available to Missouri, making this line a little less of a transmission phenomenon.

But what must be the hardest pill to swallow are statements by lawmakers that the 2005 House Bill, which reforms the law of eminent domain for future transmission projects, represents one of the successes of the 2020 session. .

Lawmakers should be prepared to call it what it is. Perhaps not a betrayal, but a difficult compromise that comes at the expense of the most affected landowners who led this fight.

END

About James K. Bonnette

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