Civil Rights

Rachel Levine confirmed as highest-ranking openly transgender federal official

BY: - March 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — Dr. Rachel Levine on Wednesday became the first openly transgender individual to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a federal position. The Senate voted 52-48 to confirm her as an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. Two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, […]

Missouri lawmakers seek answers from DSS on oversight gaps of unlicensed reform schools

BY: - March 24, 2021

State lawmakers grilled the head of the Department of Social Services Wednesday afternoon for answers on how allegations of abuse and neglect at unlicensed youth residential facilities have been overlooked for years. Last month, former students described to lawmakers horrific physical and sexual abuse they’ve endured at religious reform schools in Missouri — which are […]

Chokehold ban, repeal of KC residency rule wins initial approval of Missouri Senate

BY: - March 23, 2021

A bill banning police chokeholds and repealing a requirement that Kansas City police officers reside within the city received initial approval in the Missouri Senate on Tuesday. Provisions added to the bill by Democratic Sen. Brian Williams of University City would ban police chokeholds, specifically neck restraints that restrict air flow, and prohibit an officer […]

St. Louis church helps Missourians navigate system to obtain state-issued IDs

BY: - March 17, 2021

Edna Scott and Juan Chambers arrived early at St. Francis Xavier College Church on Tuesday morning. But the line was already out the door.  Just like them, about 20 people were waiting at 9 a.m. to get into the church’s identification outreach program. They needed birth certificates or state IDs in order to get jobs, […]

Records

Group seeking public records on Missouri ‘alternative to abortion’ program charged $26K

BY: - March 17, 2021

When the reproductive-rights watchdog Equity Forward received an invoice for its records request to the Missouri Department of Social Services, the bill came as a shock: $26,291.18. “We’ve never gotten a request in the five digits, tens of thousands of dollars before,” said Molly Bangs, the New York-based group’s director. “This was pretty out of […]

Senate confirms Haaland as first-ever Native American to serve in the Cabinet

BY: - March 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Debra Haaland made history on Monday when she became the first Native American to ever be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to hold a position in a president’s Cabinet. In a narrow 51-40 vote, senators confirmed Haaland, a New Mexico Democrat, to serve as secretary of interior, where she will run […]

Chris Sevier testifies during a House Committee on General Laws hearing

He was deemed a ‘security concern’ in the Missouri Capitol. He’s back proposing bills

BY: - March 10, 2021

During a recent hearing on his bill to establish the “Stop Social Media Censorship Act,” state Rep. Jeff Coleman repeatedly referenced experts sitting behind him in the audience who would be better able to address questions about the legislation’s legality. The first of these experts to testify was Chris Sevier, an Iraqi war veteran, Tennessee […]

Exterior Missouri State Capitol building

Transgender youth speak against Missouri proposal to restrict sports teams by gender

BY: - March 3, 2021

Brandon Boulware remembers the moment he realized he wasn’t allowing his transgender daughter to be who she is. Boulware said he wouldn’t let her play with toys or wear clothes intended for girls, and would make her get short haircuts. He wanted to keep her from getting teased, but also avoid the inevitable questions he […]

Missouri Supreme Court denies Lamar Johnson a new trial

BY: - March 2, 2021

Nearly two years ago, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner filed a motion for a new trial for Lamar Johnson, who has now spent 26 years in jail.  Gardner alleged former prosecutors and police fabricated evidence to get Johnson’s murder conviction in 1995. However, a circuit judge ruled Gardner didn’t have the power to file […]

Missouri Republicans look to reinstate voter ID requirement

BY: - February 25, 2021

About 137,700 registered voters in Missouri did not have a state-issued identification in 2017, according to an analysis from the Secretary of State’s Office.  Another 140,000 voters had expired IDs, and 2,000 more voters had forfeited their driver’s licenses. Under a bill passed Wednesday in the Missouri House, those registered voters would either have to get […]

protests in st. louis in 2017

Bill increasing penalties for protesters wins initial approval in Missouri Senate

BY: - February 23, 2021

Republican state Senators advanced sweeping legislation early Tuesday morning aimed at penalizing protestors who block streets, while also providing further protections for law enforcement under investigation for misconduct or excessive force. The bill also aims to prevent municipalities from decreasing the budgets for law enforcement agencies in Missouri by more than 12 percent over five […]

Sara Hart Weir and Kasey Kittell stand side by side smiling

For disability-rights advocate advising Missouri vaccine plan, the work is personal

BY: - February 19, 2021

Over two decades ago, Kasey Kittell opened Sara Hart Weir’s eyes to a population of people who are often overlooked. Kittell was born with Down syndrome, a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome that can cause a range of developmental and intellectual disabilities. The two met when Kittell was entering high school […]