In 2022, Missouri lawmakers filed 2,104 bills, more than almost every other state in the nation. At the end of session, they sent less than 50 to the governor's desk. I've kept a list of the adjectives journalists used to describe our state government this year: at loggerheads, dysfunctional, unproductive, bogged down. Meanwhile, our dynamo ACLU-MO legislative team worked tirelessly to keep the Missouri government from taking away our civil liberties.
When I sit down to analyze why we blocked so much unconstitutional legislation this year, I am bearing witness to true people power. Despite the fundamental unfairness (and, let's be honest, dysfunction) of our system in Missouri, I am here to tell you: the people can still make change.
This session, I saw families of transgender children convincing legislators of their child's humanity. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle stood on the right side of history to protect transgender kids.
I saw a statewide coalition of diverse organizations come together to protect the initiative petition process.
I saw laws trying to limit the free speech of students (supposed "CRT" bills) die on the vine.
Unfortunately, I also saw a heavily gerrymandered electoral map passed, and other problematic changes to our voting process. Please know that these fights are not over. Protecting our right to vote is the ACLU of Missouri's top priority in 2022.
Below is a brief overview of our work in the capitol this year, and results.
|Protecting the rights of transgender teenagers||No anti-transgender bills passed.|
|Protecting Missouri's initiative petition process||The initiative petition process remains unchanged, paving the way for two ballot initiatives coming our way in the fall: further legalizing marijuana and promoting ranked choice voting in our state.|
|Protecting the free speech of Missouri students||No so-called "CRT" bills passed.|
|Protecting the right to vote in Missouri||Bad voter ID law was passed within a nearly 60-page Christmas tree omnibus bill. The state passed a new legislative map with heavily gerrymandered district lines. Now, we are exploring all avenues available to defend the right to vote.|
|Ending corporal punishment in Missouri||A bill was presented to end corporal punishment in Missouri schools; lawmakers voted against it – the bill did not pass and corporal punishment remains legal. Now, we continue our work to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and end corporal punishment.|
|Keeping children born to incarcerated women with their mothers||Missouri Department of Corrections can now open nurseries in correctional facilities.|
This work was not easy. Although we did not win all of our battles, I am fiercely proud of these results – and prepared to continue the fight. Thank you for being in it with us.
Luz María Henríquez
Executive Director, ACLU of Missouri