TWMP: Panel talks abortion special session, Ross warns of executive orders

  

This week on TWMP, Rep. Robert Ross sits down with host Scott Faughn to discuss the results of the second extraordinary session as well as share his thoughts on Governor Eric Greitens’ executive order establishing a PDMP in Missouri.

“I disagree with the Governor’s decision in two ways, not just a policy standpoint,” Ross said “We, as a state, do not need to be tracking prescriptions, and I also disagree with the process.”

He went on to say that unless the legislature “remains vigilant” in protecting from executive overreach, Missouri will see more executive orders bypassing the legislative process.

Following Ross’ interview, the show returned with the opinion maker panel, featuring Jack Cardetti, Rep. Gina Mitten, David Barklage and Don Hinkle.

Continuing on the topic of the recent passage of SB 5, Hinkle stated that the bill was one of the greatest pro-life pieces of legislation the state had ever passed.

“It includes protections for women because of the inspections that are going to be required of the clinics. I think the First Amendment aspects of it, which protects the speech of volunteers who work at the pregnancy resource centers and faith organizations who could’ve been fired because of the St. Louis ordinance if they opposed abortion. And I think that babies’ lives are certainly going to be saved as a result of the regulations being tightened.”

Rep. Mitten argued the other side, citing concerns over Hammerschmidt violations.

“We’ve just finished a lawsuit in which the state of Missouri owes the plaintiff, I don’t know, $150,000 or $200,000, and looking at what the Supreme Court has said on that issue, the trap laws, we have every reason to expect that to be challenged again and I think we have every reason to expect the plaintiffs to win again,” she said. “We’re going to go right back down the litigation rabbit hole and Missouri is going to be ordered to cough up some attorneys’ fees because this legislature seems to have some problem sticking to what the Supreme Court has said.”

“This isn’t about policy,” Cardetti said. “This was about Governor Greitens checking a political box. This is about him trying to use the spotlight to get right on an issue that social conservative voters are very wary of.

Cardetti noted that the governor did not sign the bill in a public manner, instead signing it behind closed doors in his office with no members of the press allowed.

“I think it shows sort of a modern day approach to politics,” Barklage said. “His reaction to this is sensitive to constituencies that are very divided. I think we’re just seeing a lot more segmentation of politics.”

As for the issue of what other potential abortion bills could be seen in the future, Hinkle said there’s always room to move forward, but that the pro-life community may need to take a step back and look to where they go from here.

The panel’s next topic of choice was the race for U.S. Senate. Cardetti said that he believed Attorney General Josh Hawley could be walking into a trap if he runs against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, while Barklage said the challenge here was that incumbents have to face the growing trend of mistrust with lawmakers, and that the swing could be dependent on whether people reward the Republicans for the work done since the 2016 election or punish them for it.

Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email benjamin@themissouritimes.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.