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“SALUS POPULI SUPREMA LEX ESTO”

 

The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law. Missouri’s state motto offers a road map for ahead of every legislative cycle, yet too often, distractions and misdirections prevent your elected officials from achieving that goal. 

 

For two decades now, Missouri’s Republican majority in the statehouse has prioritized the desires of corporations over the needs of citizens; underpaid Missouri’s teachers and undervalued the children they educate; fought tooth and nail against health care for our most vulnerable; ignored lethal gun violence across the state; dragged us backwards on civil rights, reproductive freedom and voter access; and undermined America’s sacred democratic principles. Instead, Republican politicians focus on “culture war” issues, mostly attacks on Missouri’s minority and LGBT citizens, to escape responsibility for objectively bad policy.

The people of Missouri deserve better. 

Minority Floor Leader Crystal Quade delivers remarks and takes questions from members of the media on the first day of session, Jan. 4, 2023.

The Missouri House Democrats offer an alternative to the radical and reckless ideas that have failed this state for the past 20 years.

 

In accordance with our state’s guiding philosophy, we will offer a policy agenda in the 2023 Legislative Session that will solve or alleviate these problems. Democratic legislation will invest in Missourians, save lives, and defend the democratic ideals that make our nation truly exceptional.

First, Democrats and Republicans should come together as a state and use our record $6 billion surplus to make drastic changes that will benefit every Missourian. Increasing access to safe, quality, affordable childcare not only benefits children, it creates jobs and helps parents return back to the workforce, helping our local economies and small businesses. Investing in infrastructure – like broadband access or expanding Interstate 70 – saves Missourians’ money and makes all areas of our state more accessible and attractive for businesses. 


We have made progress on the budget the past several years to bolster state programs that desperately need the support, but we can and should do more. With a record budget surplus, this is the perfect time for a generational investment in making Missouri the best state to live, work and raise a family.

 

Republicans apparently have forgotten the very first section of the Missouri Constitution, which says “all political power is vested in and derived from the people.” Not the legislature, not the Republican Party, but the people. This principle is integral to a free and democratic society, and House Democrats will defend it against Republican efforts to shift political power from the people to themselves.


Multiple Republican policies — specifically on abortion and guns — have made Missouri a more dangerous place to live since they took over the majority roughly two decades ago. In their rush to ban abortion, Republican legislators passed vague language forcing doctors to potentially forgo treatment for ectopic pregnancies — which are always fatal to the child and usually fatal to the mother if not treated — because they fear arrest or losing their ability to practice medicine. The ban left pharmacists confused about how to fill prescriptions used to treat things like arthritis because that same medication can be used for an abortion. In their eagerness to play politics, Republican politicians put the lives of Missouri women at risk and forced the physicians and health care providers who care for them in an impossible situation. 

For well over a century, Missourians have possessed the constitutional authority to bypass the lawmakers to enact legislation their elected representatives refuse to pass, such as Medicaid expansion and legislative ethics reform, as well as medical and recreational marijuana legalization. Missourians also are empowered to block bad laws approved by the legislature and signed into law by the governor, as was the case a few years ago with Republicans’ anti-union right-to-work law.

 

Because Missourians frequently and effectively use the initiative and referendum petition processes to thwart the Republican-controlled legislature, GOP lawmakers have launched an all-out assault on Missourians’ constitutional right to directly enact new laws they support and block bad laws they don’t.

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Missouri House Democrats will file legislation to overturn Missouri’s abortion ban to save lives and respect the dignity and freedom of bodily autonomy.

 

Missouri has also suffered from a surge in gun violence under Republican leadership. In 2005, Missouri ranked 17th among states in gun deaths, according to the CDC. In 2020 after Republicans spent several years stripping away gun safety measures, Missouri ranked 4th. 

 

Yet they continue to look for ways to erode gun safety measures and make Missouri an even more lethal place to live. Despite law enforcement officers and county prosecutors pleading with them not to, Republicans have passed laws that allow dangerously unstable people to access firearms. St. Louis police cited this law as a reason they couldn’t legally seize the weapon of the recent Central Visual and Performing Arts High School shooter, despite repeated warnings this person posed a threat. We can close loopholes that allow dangerous people to buy or keep firearms. House Democrats will prioritize Missourians’ safety with practical, common sense gun safety measures that do not violate Missourians’ Second Amendment rights.

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New laws should be written to ensure the well-being of all the people, not attack their rights or put them in harm’s way. It has been the honor of my life to work for the people of Missouri, and in my last two years as a state representative who has led a growing Democratic caucus, I know our vision of a safer, more fiscally intelligent, and democratically secure Missouri has begun to resonate. We can achieve greatness so long as we maintain our focus on the welfare of the people.

Crystal Quade

House Minority Leader

District 132 - Springfield

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