ST. LOUIS — In a letter sent out Friday to all state representatives, Rep. Lyle Rowland, R-Cedarcreek, urged for the support of Senate Bill 265 — a bill seeking to ban Agenda 21 in Missouri — during veto session.
Rowland, the House handler of the bill, has been a vocal supporter of the effort and said that following the “disappointing” veto of the bill by Gov. Jay Nixon, he hopes the legislature will make an effort to override the veto.
“People think Agenda 21 is a conspiracy theory,” Rowland told The Missouri Times, adding that he doesn’t think that is the case and citing the recent issue with the White River being designated a National Blueways System — though it was later rescinded because of complaints from policymakers — as an example.
In Rowland’s email he included a letter of support from Todd “Ike” Shelton, the founder of Missourians Against Agenda 21, which you can read here.
“I’m sure there’s going to be making fun and making light that I’m a conspiracy theorist but I’m just stating facts,” Rowland said. “You can look up and read what has been happening and no one has drawn attention to it.”
SB 265 received enough votes in the House and Senate during the final vote in session to override the veto, assuming everyone sticks to their primary vote — an impossible guarantee.
The Senate vote was directly along party lines, 24-9 with Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Jefferson County, absent from the vote. The House vote was 118-37, with eight absent, but did not fall entirely on party lines as there were several Democrats that voted in favor of the bill.
Rowland said in his experience, the governor’s veto sometimes causes some Democrats to shy away from voting for bills again for an override.
Additionally, Rowland said he also understands that this is an issue that receives a lot of media attention, even at a national level.
“National media, I feel, is very skewed in their reporting of what is news and what is not news,” he said. “I think when you take a person like Paula Deen that made a racial slur remark 20 years ago when we have places like Benghazi, intrusion on people by the NSA and the Department of Revenue taking personal information. And all we hear about is Paula Deen’s racial slur? We’ve got our priorities wrong.”
Rowland said he thinks news about things that ultimately affect people isn’t what’s being reported on at a national level.
“I feel like the national media is skewed to the point that they’re not going to report on the government take over,” he said. “We’re losing ground.”
Rowland said he wanted to urge his peers to pursue an override to continue the discussion about the issue. He said if it came down to it, he also would support bringing the issue of banning Agenda 21 to the people for a vote.
House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said he isn’t sure whether SB 265 will be a priority during veto session.
“We’re going to discuss every bill at summer caucus and everyone will be given a fair shot as to why their bill should be overridden,” he said. “It’s a very technical process and I don’t want to make any presuppositions.”
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Franklin County, couldn’t be reached before this story was published.
Ashley Jost is no longer with The Missouri Times. She worked as the executive editor for several months, and a reporter before that.