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Missouri First Action Alert Update - MO Senate Bill 712

February 22, 2002

Laws are indispensable to the preservation of freedom - they are a necessary component of any society. But nearly every law takes at least a small chip from the foundation of freedom, and, therefore, should be enacted only with the greatest of care and consideration. Too often the freedom that so many of our forefathers bled and died for is sold off for some shortsighted or selfish gain. This was the case in the Missouri Senate this week.

On Wednesday, February 20, 2002, the so called "Emergency Health Powers Act" was "Third Read" and passed in the Missouri Senate by a vote of 20 to 14. It will now be considered by the House of Representatives. If it passes the House and is signed by the governor it will become the law of the land. The process included some pretty disgusting examples of poor statesmanship, but there were some bright spots as well.

The heroes of the day included Senators Steelman, Cauthorn, Loudon, Schneider, Kinder, and especially, Larry Rohrbach and Ted House. These senators presented eloquent arguments against an extremely poorly constructed bill that is repugnant to the most basic principles of our fair land. Since the bill had been "perfected" and could not be amended, all these senators could do is expose the problems of the bill.

As each flaw in the bill was pointed out in floor debate, the sponsor, Senator Marvin Singleton, would acquiesce and agree to try to work with the house to amend the flaws out of his own legislation, but he would not withdraw the bill - he wanted it to pass the senate that day. So many of these concessions were made that one had to wonder what will be left of the bill if Singleton keeps his word. One also is left wondering what is Singleton's motivation for pushing so hard for such a terribly flawed bill..

Whatever his motivation, this bill is an example of one that does more than just "chip" away at liberty and for no great gain to society. This bill is yet another example of the effort to use disasters or looming threats as excuses to increase the power and scope of government and attack freedom. Patrick "Give me liberty or give me death" Henry would calls us wimps for putting up with these attacks!

It is time to go on the offensive. We need an "Emergency Health Powers Act" alright - one which focuses on protecting freedom from knee-jerk reactions by governmental health officials. We need a bill that specifically limits what the government can do in the name of an "emergency". Letís roll!

For copies of the perfected version of this bill, goto:
http://www.senate.state.mo.us/02info/pdf-bill/perf/SB712.pdf (pdf version)
http://www.senate.state.mo.us/02info/billtext/perf/SB712.htm (html version)
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By: Ron Calzone
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