Recently, a women in Tennessee was sent to jail for not keeping her lawn properly mowed. Now we have an elderly man being descended upon with an Mine Resistant Assault vehicle and two dozen armed enforcers to collect fines ascribed to him by the city for not removing equipment from his own property….And it is even worse than that, really. No representation and they take him to the bank to take his money from him as well. Is this the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”?

Here is the article:

Marathon County police are not apologizing for their decision to use an armored military vehicle on a senior citizen because he may have been “argumentative.”

police tankFor years, 75-year-old Roger Hoeppner has been at odds with his local government in Marathon County, Wisconsin, over $80,000 dollars worth of fines relating to the use of his property.

Hoeppner has strongly disputed the fines that have been imposed on him, and he has been through multiple lawsuits and appeals with the city, in a fight to use his property the way that he wants to.

Town officials claim that a business which Hoeppner operates on his property is in violation of zoning ordinances.

In 2011, the town confiscated large amounts of personal property from Hoeppner because he refused to pay the fines. Several tractors, pallets and equipment were auctioned off by the government for “pennies on the dollar” according to Hoeppner’s attorney, Ryan Lister.

Next, the town imposed a $500-a-day fine on Hoeppner for refusing to remove certain equipment from his property. Eventually, the bill ran up close to $100,000, and the town came to collect the money with an armored truck and two dozen cops.

The local police department has defended their show of force by saying that Hoeppner was “argumentative” about the fines, although they admit that he never made any threats or indications that he would be violent.

“I’ve been involved in about five standoff situations where, as soon as the MARV showed up, the person gives up, saving time, money and increasing safety. People may not always understand why, but an armored vehicle is almost a necessity now,” Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Bean told reporters.

Hoeppner was arrested without any physical resistance, and was escorted to a bank where he was forced to withdraw $80,000 and hand it over to police.


Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/24-cops-armored-vehicle-collect-fines-argumentative-75-year/#GFjrh31USYEX0ZMk.99

 

Following is the testimony given by Mary Byrne yesterday at the Common Core/Academic Standards hearing in Jefferson City:

Below is a copy of my testimony presented to the Missouri State Board of Education at yesterday’s public hearing regarding the progress of academic standards development by the work groups. My primary concern was the appearance of bias given by past actions of the State Board and the partnership of the National Association of State Board of Education with the corporations who stand to profit from the implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Below is the testimony I submitted.
Mary Byrne, Ed.D.
Springfield, MO
 
INTRODUCTION
President Herschend, members of the board, I appeared before this State Board of Education in January of this year to ask that you reverse the board’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards because the process by which they were adopted was inconsistent with ethical and responsible governance (that is, governors, including Missouri’s governor, having signed a memorandum of agreement committing states to “. . . the development and adoption of a common core of state standards before they were written), and lacked the statutory authority to adopted privately owned, copyrighted materials as public policy. At that time, little was known about the National Association of State Boards of Education’s involvement in the agreement to cooperate with the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Governors Association, and the U.S. Department of Education in promoting the Common Core State Standards Initiative; however, since January, additional information has been found that calls into question an apparent conflict of interest that inhibits the ability of this board to make unbiased decisions about academic standards developed by work groups constituted by HB 1490.
EVIDENCE
The following is evidence to support my concerns:
  • Page 3 of the Common Core Standards Memorandum of Agreement to develop and adopt a common core of state standards signed by Governor Nixon in June 2009 describes a National Policy Forum to include signatory organizations and names the National Association of State Boards of Education among them. It’s justified to assume that members of this board, though not all, were aware of the Governor’s agreement at that time.
  • Page C-0 of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Application (the grant program that provided four assurances to the U.S. Dept. of Education including the adoption of common standards and aligned assessments) shows the signature of Dr. Bert Schulte as the Chief State School Officer who is under the direction of the State Board of Education.
  • A 2010 990 filed by the National Association of State Boards of Education reads as follows:
     . . . in 2009 48 states and 3 territories agreed to participate in the process of creating a set of common core standards . . . they must adopt 100% of the common core k-12 standards in english language arts and mathematics and begin assessment on the common core state standards within three years . . .NASBE is an equal partner with the Council Of Chief State School Officers and National Governors Association on the Common Core Standards Initiative the three organizations are working closely together to facilitate the dialogue related to standards adoption and implementation the focus of this effort is to engage state boards of education, other governing bodies, . .  NASBE conducted four regional conferences from January-March of 2010 to give state boards an opportunity to gain an information infrastructure of materials and resources on the common core as well as prepare state boards for the policy and advocacy work that will be essential to a smooth approval process of the common core standards the conferences are funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (italics added) The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funds millions of dollars in grants in the state of Missouri.
  • In 2012, Missouri State Board of Education President Peter Herschend received the Distinguished Service Award from the NASBE.
  • Annual and Platinum Level Partners identified on the NASBE website (http://www.nasbe.org/about-us/partners/) include a list of corporations that benefit from contracts awarded to develop, administer, score, and report student performance on tests aligned to the new standards; sales of instructional material and personnel development programs to teach content associated with the grade level sequence of the standards; and provide interventions to schools associated with poor test results. Among these are Pearson, ETS, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill, ACT, College Board, WestEd, Wireless Generation and others. Missouri contracts with several of the above testing companies.
CONCLUSION
Although NASBE’s “Public Education Positions for 2014 states, “The adoption of any common standards by individual states must not be a condition for the receipt of federal aid.” That point was disregarded from the outset of the standards adoption process. Further, the association of the Missouri State Board of Education with the National Association of State Boards of Education and its partners, as well as the relationship of the board with the governor, is a concern in its ability to evaluate the standards developed by the academic workgroups of Missouri’s education professionals and teachers. Please be reminded that your first duty is to uphold the compact Missouri has with its citizens, that is, Missouri’s constitution; and that Article IX of our constitution promises, public education is for, “A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people,” [that is, a liberal arts education as envisioned by our founders; not workforce development envisioned by Washington DC-based trade organizations and their partners] for the gratuitous instruction of all persons in this state . . .”

 

For those who can read between the lines, this is what we have to look forward to in the next five years. Every aspect will likely be covered in egregious detail within the MOU and CA processes. Put this on your “watch” list. The fusing of property controls to plant animal and human health will become more onerous soon. Look up One World One Health if you want an overview of the assertion made:

Federal Agencies Offer Vision to Ensure Future Generations Can Enjoy
Wilderness*Contacts:*

Vanessa Kauffman
703-358-2138
vanessa_kauffman@fws.gov

Washington, D.C. – The federal land management agencies that make up the
National Wilderness Preservation System recently signed an agreement that
will guide interagency collaboration and vision to ensure the continued
preservation of nearly 110 million acres of the most primitive of public
lands.

The *2020 Vision: Interagency stewardship priorities for America’s National
Wilderness Preservation System* will guide the National Park Service, U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Geological
Survey, all under the U.S. Department of Interior; and the U.S. Forest
Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The document outlines interagency work and partnerships with nongovernment
organizations for the management of wilderness. The plan emphasizes three
broad themes:

- Protect wilderness resources.
   – Connect people to their wilderness heritage.
   – Foster excellence in wilderness leadership and coordination.

The *2020 Vision* also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness
Act of 1964, which was passed by Congress and led to the creation of the
National Wilderness Preservation System.

The 758 wilderness areas in 44 states and Puerto Rico showcase some of
America’s most pristine landscapes — forested mountains, alpine meadows,
rock peaks above timberline, tundra, lava beds, deserts, swamps, coastal
lands and islands. These areas provide a wide array of benefits, including
cultural and historic connection to lands once inhabited by Native
Americans, clean water and air, habitat for animals, healthy landscapes for
rare and endangered species, and recreation activities that are in concert
with wilderness values.

“America’s National Wilderness Preservation System protects large expanses
of habitat that are home to hundreds of native species. At a time when the
world faces resource challenges of staggering scale and complexity, we need
to ensure these protections endure,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Director Dan Ashe. “The *2020 Vision* will help federal land management
agencies protect and expand the benefits of our wilderness areas for people
and wildlife at a landscape scale.”

In 1964, about 9 million acres of Forest Service primitive and wild areas
in 13 states immediately received permanent wilderness protection.
Subsequent bills added more lands as wilderness. Today, nearly 5 percent of
the United States is designated wilderness, with more than half of that
land in Alaska.

“The character of wilderness is unique because of its combination of
biophysical, experiential and symbolic ideals that distinguish it from
other protected places,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B.
Jarvis. “Wilderness can be a life-changing experience, and it’s part of our
mission to preserve wilderness for future generations. Our challenge is to
offer this experience to an ever-diversifying public while remaining true
to our stewardship mission.”

“We stand on the shoulders of conservation giants like Arthur Carhart, Aldo
Leopold, Bob Marshall and Howard Zahniser who played significant roles in
establishing what we now know as wilderness,” said U.S. Forest Service
Chief Tom Tidwell. “Today, we renew our commitment to interagency
leadership so that our managers, partners and volunteers have the tools,
skills and science they need to address a host of challenges as we work to
ensure an enduring legacy.”

By working together, the agencies and non-government partners have built a
model of effectiveness and efficiency that will continue as they meet the
goals of wilderness stewardship in the 21st century.

During the next five years, the agencies will focus on four priorities:

– Completing wilderness character inventories across the National
   Wilderness Preservation System using standardized interagency protocols and
   institutionalizing ongoing monitoring.
   – Fostering relevancy of wilderness to contemporary society by inspiring
   and nurturing life-long connections between people of diverse cultures and
   wilderness.
   – Strengthening commitment to and support of the interagency Arthur
   Carhart National Wilderness Training Center and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness
   Research Institute to foster excellence in interagency leadership and
   coordination.
   – Conducting climate vulnerability and adaptation assessments across the
   National Wilderness Preservation System to improve ecological resiliency
   across broad landscapes.

These interagency priorities will guide stewardship activities, projects
and events for all agency wilderness programs, the interagency Aldo Leopold
Wilderness Research Institute and the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness
Training Center. The *2020 Vision* updates a previous version and
incorporates interagency research and management priorities.

“Our responsibility for administering wilderness came late, compared to
other federal agencies,” said Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Neil
Kornze. “But BLM lands are now, and will remain, absolutely central to the
nation’s conservation vision.” Kornze pointed out that nearly two-thirds of
the wilderness that has been designated since 2000 has been on BLM-managed
lands and that BLM has more than 500 wilderness study areas under its
management.

“Many of us have experienced the majesty of being out on Western landscapes
that have remained largely unchanged for thousands of years,” Kornze said.
“With that same sense of wonder, the BLM looks forward to continuing its
protection of wilderness in cooperation with all who care about the
effective stewardship of these lands.”

To learn more visit *www.wilderness.net* <http://www.wilderness.net/>.

*The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others
to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their
habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a
leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our
scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources,
dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more
information on our work and the people who make it happen,
visit www.fws.gov <http://www.fws.gov/>*.

*Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws
<https://www.facebook.com/usfws>, follow our tweets at twitter.com/usfwshq
<https://twitter.com/usfwshq>, watch our YouTube Channel
atwww.youtube.com/usfws <http://www.youtube.com/usfws> and download photos
from our Flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/
<http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/>*
***************************************************************************
News releases are also available online at
http://www.fws.gov/news/

Commonsense PRC Meets November 3rd

Posted: October 27, 2014 in Meetings
Missouri Militia will Address Commonsense Property Rights Coalition November 3
The Common Sense Property Rights Coalition will meet Monday November 3   at 6 pm at Fred’s Fish House in Mammoth Springs. The primary speaker of the evening will be Brad North of Texas County, Missouri representing the Missouri Militia according to Co-chair Kevin Jotz.
“The Missouri Militia is a private, non-profit volunteer organization operating as a state militia distinct from the National Guard, which can be federalized or drafted into federal service. During World War II most National Guard units served in a federal capacity, promoting many states to maintain separate state defense forces.  In 1982 Governor Kit Bond signed an executive order allowing the creation of a state defense force. North will explain how his organization fits into state defense and how it works with other agencies. At the end of his talk he will take questions from the audience? Jotz said.
 “This is an organization concerned with protection of private property rights. The group believes that without protections of private property rights nothing else is secure. The right to own and reasonably use private property is a cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution, differentiating our country from others around the world. As John Adams, one of our nation’s Founding Fathers and our second president, said: ‘The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.’”
Jotz added, “We welcome all area residents interested in private property rights, food freedom and protection of constitutional rights to attend, or to call us for more information at 417-264-2435 or417-270-1724.”

 

Seems like this kind of behavior might lead to banks having trouble keeping deposits. This article is horrifying and causes one to wonder what country we actually live in now:

Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required

Photo

Carole Hinders at her modest, cash-only Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, Iowa. Last year tax agents seized her 

 

ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa — For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”

The federal government does.

Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.

Photo

The I.R.S. seized almost $33,000 from Ms. Hinders. CreditAngela Jimenez for The New York Times

“They’re going after people who are really not criminals,” said David Smith, a former federal prosecutor who is now a forfeiture expert and lawyer in Virginia. “They’re middle-class citizens who have never had any trouble with the law.”

On Thursday, in response to questions from The New York Times, the I.R.S. announced that it would curtail the practice, focusing instead on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by “exceptional circumstances.”

Richard Weber, the chief of Criminal Investigation at the I.R.S., said in a written statement, “This policy update will ensure that C.I. continues to focus our limited investigative resources on identifying and investigating violations within our jurisdiction that closely align with C.I.’s mission and key priorities.” He added that making deposits under $10,000 to evade reporting requirements, called structuring, is still a crime whether the money is from legal or illegal sources. The new policy will not apply to past seizures.

The I.R.S. is one of several federal agencies that pursue such cases and then refer them to the Justice Department. The Justice Department does not track the total number of cases pursued, the amount of money seized or how many of the cases were related to other crimes, said Peter Carr, a spokesman.

But the Institute for Justice, a Washington-based public interest law firm that is seeking to reform civil forfeiture practices, analyzed structuring data from the I.R.S., which made 639 seizures in 2012, up from 114 in 2005. Only one in five was prosecuted as a criminal structuring case.

The practice has swept up dairy farmers in Maryland, an Army sergeant in Virginia saving for his children’s college education and Ms. Hinders, 67, who has borrowed money, strained her credit cards and taken out a second mortgage to keep her restaurant going.

Their money was seized under an increasingly controversial area of law known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement agents to take property they suspect of being tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed. Law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.

Critics say this incentive has led to the creation of a law enforcement dragnet, with more than 100 multiagency task forces combing through bank reports, looking for accounts to seize. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks and other financial institutions must report cash deposits greater than $10,000. But since many criminals are aware of that requirement, banks also are supposed to report any suspicious transactions, including deposit patterns below $10,000. Last year, banks filed more than 700,000 suspicious activity reports. Owners who are caught up in structuring cases often cannot afford to fight. The median amount seized by the I.R.S. was $34,000, according to the Institute for Justice analysis, while legal costs can easily mount to $20,000 or more.

There is nothing illegal about depositing less than $10,000cash unless it is done specifically to evade the reporting requirement. But often a mere bank statement is enough for investigators to obtain a seizure warrant. In one Long Island case, the police submitted almost a year’s worth of daily deposits by a business, ranging from $5,550 to $9,910. The officer wrote in his warrant affidavit that based on his training and experience, the pattern “is consistent with structuring.” The government seized $447,000 from the business, a cash-intensive candy and cigarette distributor that has been run by one family for 27 years.

There are often legitimate business reasons for keeping deposits below $10,000, said Larry Salzman, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice who is representing Ms. Hinders and the Long Island family pro bono. For example, he said, a grocery store owner in Fraser, Mich., had an insurance policy that covered only up to $10,000 cash. When he neared the limit, he would make a deposit.

Ms. Hinders said that she did not know about the reporting requirement and that for decades, she thought she had been doing everyone a favor.

Photo

Jeff Hirsch, an owner of Bi-County Distributors on Long Island. The government seized $447,000 from the business, a candy and cigarette distributor run by one family for 27 years.CreditBryan Thomas for The New York Times

“My mom had told me if you keep your deposits under $10,000, the bank avoids paperwork,” she said. “I didn’t actually think it had anything to do with the I.R.S.”

In May 2012, the bank branch Ms. Hinders used was acquired by Northwest Banker. JoLynn Van Steenwyk, the fraud and security manager for Northwest, said she could not discuss individual clients, but explained that the bank did not have access to past account histories after it acquired Ms. Hinders’s branch.

Banks are not permitted to advise customers that their deposit habits may be illegal or educate them about structuring unless they ask, in which case they are given a federal pamphlet, Ms. Van Steenwyk said. “We’re not allowed to tell them anything,” she said.

Still lawyers say it is not unusual for depositors to be advised by financial professionals, or even bank tellers, to keep their deposits below the reporting threshold. In the Long Island case, the company, Bi-County Distributors, had three bank accounts closed because of the paperwork burden of its frequent cash deposits, said Jeff Hirsch, the eldest of three brothers who own the company. Their accountant then recommended staying below the limit, so for more than a decade the company had been using its excess cash to pay vendors.

More than two years ago, the government seized $447,000, and the brothers have been unable to retrieve it. Mr. Salzman, who has taken over legal representation of the brothers, has argued that prosecutors violated a strict timeline laid out in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, passed in 2000 to curb abuses. The office of the federal attorney for the Eastern District of New York said the law’s timeline did not apply in this case. Still, prosecutors asked the Hirsch’s first lawyer, Joseph Potashnik, to waive the CARFA timeline. The waiver he signed expired almost two years ago.

The federal attorney’s office said that parties often voluntarily negotiated to avoid going to court, and that Mr. Potashnik had been engaged in talks until just a few months ago. But Mr. Potashnik said he had spent that time trying, to no avail, to show that the brothers were innocent. They even paid a forensic accounting firm $25,000 to check the books.

“I don’t think they’re really interested in anything,” Mr. Potashnik said of the prosecutors. “They just want the money.”

Bi-County has survived only because longtime vendors have extended credit — one is owed almost $300,000, Mr. Hirsch said. Twice, the government has made settlement offers that would require the brothers to give up an “excessive” portion of the money, according to a new court filing.

“We’re just hanging on as a family here,” Mr. Hirsch said. “We weren’t going to take a settlement, because I was not guilty.”

Army Sgt. Jeff Cortazzo of Arlington, Va., began saving for his daughters’ college costs during the financial crisis, when many banks were failing. He stored cash first in his basement and then in a safe-deposit box. All of the money came from paychecks, he said, but he worried that when he deposited it in a bank, he would be forced to pay taxes on the money again. So he asked the bank teller what to do.

“She said: ‘Oh, that’s easy. You just have to deposit less than $10,000.’”

The government seized $66,000; settling cost Sergeant Cortazzo $21,000. As a result, the eldest of his three daughters had to delay college by a year.

“Why didn’t the teller tell me that was illegal?” he said. “I would have just plopped the whole thing in the account and been done with it.”

 

A solidly detailed explanation of how SAPA was stopped in the Missouri House in the 2014 session…From Ron Calzone:

Missouri has always had pretty good constitutional protection for our right to keep and bear arms.

Article I, Section 23 is Missouri’s equivalent to the U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment. It’s designed to limit the government’s power – especially the legislature’s power — to pass laws that restrict gun rights. Constitutionally restricting the state legislature’s ability to infringe on gun rights is especially important, since other government entities, like city and counties, largely derive their powers from the legislature.

Imagine what could happen if the Missouri Constitution was amended to SPECIFICALLY EXEMPT the state legislature from Art. I, Sec. 23 and allow it to pass laws that infringed on the the right to keep and bear arms.

That’s exactly what the House of Representatives voted to do on the last day of the 2013 legislative session.

Now, before you get too worked up please understand that the measure they voted on DID NOT PASS the Senate. It is NOT in the Constitution now!

I do, however, want to use this terrible vote by the House to demonstrate just how “broken” the legislative process is in Jefferson City.

 

THE AMENDMENT

Ironically, the bad language was an amendment to what started out as a very good bill, SJR 14. That was the 2013 version of the 2014 SJR 36, which became Amendment 5 and Missouri voters overwhelmingly ratified on the August ballot, securing for Missourians what are probably the strongest gun rights in the country.

I’ll explain the political back story in a minute, but first look at the terrible amendment the House adopted and then passed with a vote of 115 to 38:

House Amendment No. 1

AMEND Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Joint Resolution No. 14, Page 1, Section 23, Line 4, by inserting after the period on said line, “.”, the following:

” The right of every citizen to possess, purchase, reload, or manufacture ammunition and to possess, purchase, or manufacture mechanical parts or other articles essential to the proper functioning of arms shall not be infringed or the amounts limited.“; and

Further amend said bill, page, and section, Line 7, by inserting after the period, on said line, the following:

” Nothing in this section shall be construed to invalidate acts of the General Assembly, which create criminal penalties for the unlawful use of firearms.“; and

Further amend said resolution, Page 2, Section B, Lines 5-8, by deleting all of said lines and inserting in lieu thereof, the following:

“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is a unalienable right, that the state government is obligated to uphold that right, and that every citizen is guaranteed the right to possess, purchase, and manufacture firearms, parts, and ammunition?”; and

Further amend said bill by amending the title, enacting clause, and intersectional references accordingly.

The part highlighted in yellow is the offensive clause. It doesn’t take a Kansas City lawyer to realize that the House voted to gut our right to keep and bear arms!

They didn’t mean to do it – they didn’t realize what they were voting on – but they did do it!

The whole purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to “invalidate acts of” Congress when they infringe on gun rights. And the same is supposed to be true of Missouri Constitution’s Article I, Section 23 with respect to state and local law-makers..

Had it become part of the Constitution, the phrase, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to invalidate acts of the General Assembly, which create criminal penalties for the unlawful use of firearms.”, would have allowed the state legislature to define “unlawful use of firearms” any way they chose and then create criminal penalties – all with no restriction by the Missouri Constitution.

With that in the Constitution, they could have passed a statute that defined “unlawful use” as owning anything other than a muzzle loading musket.

Of course, the 2nd Amendment would have still provided protection, but that’s not the point.

The point is that the General Assembly, especially the House, is often times quite dysfunctional and prone to bone-headed mistakes like this!

Now, before you find that your Rep voted for this liberty-stealing amendment and decide to tar and feather him or her, please read the Rest of the Story…

PETTY POLITICS

What happened that May 17, 2013, afternoon was the culmination of petty political posturing for the 2016 race for Attorney General.

To piece the puzzle together, first look at the Actions page for SJR 14. Notice that it passed the Senate and was given to the House on April 4th. That’s 1 ½ months before the end of the 2013 legislative session and plenty of time for a bill to finish the process.

So why did it take until the very last day of session to actually get to the House floor?

It was because the Speaker of the House, Tim Jones, was contemplating running for A.G. against the the sponsor of SJR 14, Sen. Kurt Schaefer. If Schaefer managed to get a landmark constitutional amendment on the ballot and if it was widely adopted by voters, that would be quite a feather in his cap. Of course, all of that became true with SJR 36 in 2014.

Tim Jones couldn’t let his potential political opponent get a leg up on him in terms of gun rights street cred, so he delayed SJR 14 as long as possible.

 

DIRTY PLAY

Delay wasn’t enough, though, Jones needed to kill the bill.

That’s not hard at all to do if you’re the Speaker and there’s only a few hours left in the year’s legislative session. All you have to do is amend the bill – any amendment will do – and send it back to the Senate. There will almost always be an accommodating senator from the opposing party who will threaten a filibuster and the bill will get pulled from the floor.

That’s exactly what happened with SJR 14 on that last day of the 2013 session, but not before some other nefarious deeds.

At the time Amendment 1 to SJR 14 was offered, virtually everyone in the House knew what was going on – including the fact that amending the bill was its death knell. The pro-gun Reps – and that’s the vast majority of them — were warned that the amendment was designed to kill the bill and to vote no when asked if the amendment should be adopted.

No debate was allowed. Majority Floor Leader John Diehl called the “previous question”, a parliamentary move to cut off further debate.

That’s right, the Missouri House of Representatives was considering an amendment that could affect our right to keep and bear arms forever – and John Diehl wouldn’t allow any more debate!

Even without debate when the voice vote was called, a clear majority of them DID vote no, at least from the hearing perspective of everyone I talked to. But Speaker Tim Jones was at the dias and he called the voice vote for the “yeas”.

As you can see from the journal entry, the next action was another call for the “previous question”. There would have still been time for them to slow down and with more deliberation consider what they had just voted on. They could have reconsidered the amendment they had just adopted and backed it out.

Nope – good legislation wasn’t the objective – the objective of the people in control was to keep Kurt Schaefer from gaining any 2nd Amendment street cred.

Instead of acting responsibly, the bill handler made a motion to “Third read and pass” the bill. A roll call vote was taken and SJR 14 passed, liberty-stealing amendment and all, by a vote of 115 to 38.

SJR 14 was, then, sent to the Senate. To pass, it needed their approval of the House’s changes.

 

SAVED IN THE SENATE

From the Senate Journal record, we see that Floor Leader Ron Richard allowed SJR 14 to the floor for debate in those busy final hours. At first, Senator Schaefer made a motion to adopt what he may not of realized, at first, was a bad House amendment, but he withdrew his motion and moved that the Senate refuse to concur with House Amendment 1 and request that the House accept the original Senate version. (See the Senate Journal here.)

By withdrawing his adoption motion, Sen. Schaefer may have saved our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

That gave the anti-gun Senators the opportunity to threaten a filibuster, which promptly kills any bill when there are only a few hours left in the year’s legislative session.. Sen. Schaefer withdrew his “refuse to concur” motion and SJR 14 died for good.

Of course, the good news is Sen. Schaefer filed SJR 36 for the 2014 session, and it ultimately was adopted by Missouri voters as Amendment 5. Frankly, it is much stronger than SJR 14, and our right to keep and bear arms is better protected than it would have been with SJR 14, even without the bad amendment.

All’s well that ends well, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the experience and hold the blunderers accountable.

 

THE BROKEN PROCESS MUST BE FIXED

I honestly don’t think that any of the Reps who voted for the bad amendment in SJR 14 knew just how bad it was. Look at the record – most of the yes votes are stalwart defenders of the 2nd Amendment.

And the Rep who actually offered the bad amendment is one of the strongest supporters of our gun rights. He was trying to make SJR 14 more comprehensive by adding “ammunition and accessories” – I believe the offensive clause wasn’t even his idea.

But he got used by some of the leaders of the House, as did all the other Reps who voted for SJR 14.

They should be infuriated.

They should demand that changes be made in the way the House conducts itself. Here are some things that would constitute a good start:

  1. Put an end to heavy-handed leadership tactics.
  2. Remove most of the power from the Speaker and Floor Leader and distribute it to all the Reps, each of whom represent the same number of Missouri citizens..
  3. Stop the “feeding frenzy” that occurs the last two weeks of the legislative session, when legislation moves too fast to be properly vetted.
  4. Expose and vote out office legislators who selfishly put their own career ahead of good public policy.

For Liberty,

Ron Calzone
ron@mofirst.org

 

For those who still think the Driver’s Licenses are not an issue for privacy, or global control concerns, this article, which is celebrating global facial recognition, should raise some concerns. That would only be the case if you care at all about privacy…Here’s the article:

Interpol facial recognition experts meet to develop global guidelines

 

Biometric experts recently gathered at the first meeting of the Interpol Facial Expert Working Group to begin development on international facial recognition standards, according to a report by Eurasia Review.

Held October 14-15, the meeting saw the participation of 24 technical and biometrics experts along with examiners from 16 nations, including identity and biometrics pioneer Dr Joseph Atick.

Over the course of the two days, these experts successfully created a ‘best practice guide’ for the quality, format and distribution of images to be used in facial recognition.

The guideline will be distributed to all 190 Interpol member countries to ultimately improve the quality of images required to achieve accurate and effective facial recognition.

Interpol is currently working with biometrics firm Safran Morpho to develop a facial image database, which is designed to improve Interpol’s forensic capabilities. The project is expected to become operational in early 2015.

Serving as Interpol’s advisory group in the field of biometrics, the working group will meet twice a year as part of the facial recognition initiative.

In 2015, Interpol will host its first facial recognition conference to promote facial recognition activities among member countries, as well as the sharing of facial images using the new database