Just how far down the crapper has Missouri’s Republican-dominated state legislature gone? A couple of items in Wednesday’s Joplin Globe give us some idea:
A bill that proposes allowing school districts to sell advertising on school buses has passed the Missouri House and has been referred to the Education Committee of the state Senate.
You see, here in Missouri we have a problem. The state is not following the law, in terms of funding Missouri schools. So, rather than raise any kind of tax (our cigarette tax—a mere 17 cents a pack!—is the lowest in the country) to help with the funding problem, we would rather sell some ads!
Maybe in St. Louis, the schools could sell ads to Verlin’s Bar and Grill, which was Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder’s favorite strip bar—and the main reason he is not running to be the real governor of Missouri. The bar certainly needs to get the word out that is has moved:
This Soulard establishment recently relocated to Vandeventer, but never fear, the ladies behind the bar are as scantily clad (read: not wearing pants) as ever. It’s a destination bar for dudes…With dollar longnecks, Saturdays are a sure bet. And keep your eyes peeled for Missouri politicians: A little birdie told us they like the view at Verlin’s, too.
That ad ought to be easy to explain to the kids!
Come to think of it, since our Lt. Gov. is seeking another term, perhaps he could put up a campaign ad next to the Verlin’s ad. Imagine seeing the following on the side of your kid’s school bus:
The second item that gives us a clue as to how far down the toilet our legislature has gone is this one:
The Missouri House endorsed legislation Tuesday that would make it a crime for undercover activists to produce videos portraying poor conditions at livestock farms or other agricultural facilities.
Get that? Small-government Republicans (with some Democratic help, for God’s sake!) are hell-bent on creating a brand new crime: reporting on the sometimes deplorable conditions along our food chain! Can’t have that!
The Missouri legislation would apply to a wide variety of agricultural entities, including livestock and poultry farms, processing facilities, markets, exhibitions or even the vehicles used to transport the animals. It also would apply to fields of crops, orchards, greenhouses, gardens, grain elevators, barns, warehouses or any other land or buildings that are part of a commercial crop enterprise.
This breathtakingly un-American law—called an “ag-gag” law—should raise the hackles of anyone in Missouri who may want to know the whole story about how food gets to our tables, or anyone who thinks the government ought to be supporting more food-industry transparency not less.
As About.com pointed out, Republican-controlled Kansas—gasp!—was the first to enact such a law (there are now other states that have them), and here is a brief description of what’s wrong with them generally:
These bills are troubling not only to animal protection activists, but also to those concerned with food safety, labor issues, free speech, and freedom of the press. The bills would apply equally to journalists, activists and employees. By prohibiting any type of undercover recordings, a farm’s own employees would be prohibited from attempting to record food safety violations, labor violations, sexual harassment incidents or other illegal activity.
What is there to hide that would make industry lobbyists press Republicans for such a law? Ah, just shut up and eat!
What’s next? How about a law to shut down journalism altogether? Get all those reporters out of the state capitol! Mustn’t see what’s going on in there! No more uncomfortable facts in the newspaper or on television. No more nasty scandals for politicians to worry about.
Maybe Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder would support that idea: