Civil Rights

Biden signs law extending marriage protections to same-sex and interracial couples

BY: - December 13, 2022

WASHINGTON — Same-sex and interracial couples had many of their marriage rights codified Tuesday when President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan marriage equality bill during a ceremony attended by thousands outside the White House. In a brief speech, Biden told supporters on the South Lawn that “marriage is a simple proposition — who do you […]

Longtime Agape director testifies in Missouri court to stay off child abuse registry

BY: - December 13, 2022

The former director of Agape Boarding School pleaded with a Cole County judge on Monday to keep himself off the state’s central registry of child abuse and neglect so he can keep working with children. Bryan Clemensen was the long-time director of the Stockton-based reform school for troubled boys until last month, he testified Monday.  […]

‘Historic moment’: Lamar Johnson wrongful conviction case goes before a St. Louis judge

BY: - December 12, 2022

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner has waited more than three years for the chance to argue the innocence of Lamar Johnson, who was convicted of murder in 1995.  She finally got the hearing to set aside Johnson’s murder conviction on Monday, day one of a trial expected to last all week. “This is a […]

Marriage equality bill heads to Biden’s desk following bipartisan U.S. House vote

BY: - December 8, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved a marriage equality bill Thursday that would ensure same-sex and interracial couples continue holding many of the rights they have now, should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the cases that established those constitutional protections. The measure now heads to the desk of President Joe Biden, who plans to sign it. […]

Experts worry expungements under Missouri marijuana law could be procedural ‘nightmare’

BY: - December 7, 2022

Thursday will be a big day for Missouri.  It’s the day the constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana use goes into effect, allowing Missourians 21 or older to legally buy or possess up to three ounces of marijuana and grow up to six marijuana plants.  It’s also the day Missouri’s Department of Corrections says 565 people […]

How investments in Black businesses can help close KC’s racial wealth gap

BY: - December 5, 2022

This story was originally published by the Kansas City Beacon.  When Denisha Jones launched her business, Sweet Peaches Cobblers, in August 2020, it was just her, her husband and her mom in a community kitchen — taking orders, making the cobblers and doing deliveries. Now she has a team of individuals helping her sell cobblers in […]

Same-sex marriage protected under bill passed by U.S. Senate with GOP support

BY: - November 29, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate approved legislation Tuesday that would enshrine protections for same-sex and interracial marriages, codifying many of the rights that would disappear if the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn those landmark decisions the way it overturned the nationwide right to an abortion this summer.  The 61-36 bipartisan vote sends the bill […]

Ashcroft criticizes Blunt support for Senate bill protecting same-sex marriage

BY: - November 29, 2022

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said Tuesday he is “flabbergasted” retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt supports a bill adding federal legal protections to same-sex marriages. Ashcroft, a Republican considering a bid for governor in 2024, sent Blunt a letter Tuesday asking him to reverse his stance and work to block the Respect for Marriage […]

Missourians seeking food assistance saw call center wait times increase over the summer

BY: - November 23, 2022

In May, Missouri residents applying for food assistance by phone had to wait on hold an average of 56 minutes to reach the required interview process, a delay a federal judge deemed “unacceptably long.” Yet over the summer, wait times continued to increase each month, according to data obtained this week by The Independent. Callers […]

What to know about buying recreational marijuana in Missouri

BY: - November 22, 2022

This story was originally published by the Kansas City Beacon.  On Nov. 8, Missourians voted “yes” on Amendment 3, which legalized recreational use of marijuana, meaning you’ll now be able to buy weed, like marijuana flower or edibles, in the coming months. Starting Dec. 8, the state will begin transitioning its medical marijuana licenses to recreational […]

Kevin Johnson’s attorneys, special prosecutor ask Missouri Supreme Court to stay execution

BY: - November 22, 2022

Attorneys for a St. Louis man sentenced to die for a murder he committed when he was 19 asked the Missouri Supreme Court Monday to delay his execution to allow for a hearing on alleged constitutional violations in his original trial. Kevin Johnson was convicted in 2007 of killing a police officer. He is scheduled […]

Marijuana vote divided Missouri social-justice leaders. Can an equity officer be a bridge?

BY: - November 17, 2022

Longtime cannabis activist Brennan England has gotten lots of undeserved praise since Missourians approved a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana on Nov. 8. As the owner of a private cannabis consumption lounge in St. Louis, England understood why people thought he’d have a “go weed or go home” stance.  But it wasn’t that simple for […]