The ABC 17 News staff has selected the top 5 most-important and most-controversial issues that came to the table in the 2015/2016 legislative session. Follow the links to see how our locally-elected state lawmakers voted on each of those issues.
University of Missouri Funding – After the landmark protests and administrative shake-up at Missouri’s largest college system, many citizens and state lawmakers were calling for massive cuts in funding and for the firing of Melissa Click. Planned Parenthood & Abortion Clinics – It started when a video was released that appeared to show planned parenthood employees negotiating the sale of fetus body parts. That video spurred many committee hearings and investigations into the organization as well as several bills regarding fetal remains. Ethics Reform – A priority right out of the gate, bills involving lobbyist gifts, the legislative revolving door, and campaign contributions came to the forefront of this session. While some of the measures were mostly-agreed upon, others were not so easy to get through. Concealed Carry Laws – With last year’s shootings in San Bernardino, California, an Oregon college campus and increased gun violence across the country, Missouri’s rules on concealed weapons has been a big discussion this year. Multiple bills were filed that aim to change the laws including one that would allow students to concealed carry on campus. SJR 39 (Religious Freedom Bill) – Some call it protection of religious freedom, others call it legalized discrimination. Deciding on whether business owners should be able to refuse service to same-sex couples due to religious beliefs led to a 40-hour-long filibuster and numerous high-profile rallies and protests.