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Mollie Freebairn

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

What happened during the 2020 legislative session? After canceling five weeks of the session due to COVID-19, the Legislature returned for a chaotic last three weeks of session. Republican leadership claimed they would only deal with the budget and pandemic-related issues. Instead, they went right back to the agenda they had before the break, bypassing the practices of open government with "open hearings" while the state was unaware, under a stay-at-home order. Adequate provisions for virtual participation were lacking. Controversial bills had no citizen testimony.

There was a legislative attack on the Grain Belt Express wind power transmission line — essential for creating the infrastructure we need to transition the state to clean renewable energy. A deceptive effort nearly passed at the last minute, but a bipartisan filibuster held to stop the anti-Grain Belt Express bills.

Missouri legislators crafted a devious plan for the November 2020 ballot to repeal the Clean Missouri redistricting reforms. Missourians came together in 2018 to pass Clean Missouri by an almost 2-to-1 margin in 2018, after a year-long signature-gathering effort by Missouri citizens and a statewide campaign. The fair map reforms earned endorsements from Republican, Independent and Democratic reformers — and every major anti-gerrymandering organization.

But these politicians hope to rig the system and keep themselves in power. Their bill is an attack on Clean Missouri, and radically changes who is and is not counted for districting purposes, by excluding all children and non-citizens — a dangerous precedent. Please vote against Amendment 3. Next year they are planning further legislation to attack Missouri voters' right to propose and pass important laws our lawmakers refuse to get done.

These same Republican lawmakers are trying to sell the Eleven Point State Park but have been stopped — so far — by a loud public outcry. This park features 6 miles along the Eleven Point River, part of the National Wild and Scenic Riverways. The park preserves unfragmented forest along the river, protecting migratory birds. Contact the Sierra Club for more information.

This sale is part of a long-range conservative plan to privatize, to end public ownership, of everything from great schools to pure clean drinking water, to our National Highway System, to our gorgeous state and national forests and parks, belonging to everyone, to get out and share America's most spectacular places with our family and friends!

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