Civil Rights

As evictions loom, federal moratorium extends and Missouri rental assistance expands

BY: - April 3, 2021

About 7,000 households in St. Louis County will receive an urgent postcard this weekend. In big, bold letters, it states: “Do you need help paying the rent or utilities?” These families are at risk of eviction, according to the St. Louis COVID-19 Regional Response Team, which sent the cards. And, 600 of them have eviction […]

Voting rights advocates air worries about onslaught of new state election laws

BY: - April 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — A U.S. House elections panel on Thursday heard from witnesses about the need to craft a new formula that identifies which states or jurisdictions have problematic histories of racial discrimination when it comes to access to the ballot box.   The hearing in the House Administration Committee’s elections subcommittee also served as a way […]

U.S. House Agriculture panel probes ‘systemic’ USDA discrimination against Black farmers

BY: - March 26, 2021

WASHINGTON — The House Agriculture Committee on Thursday heard about how Black farmers have faced decades of racial discrimination in their dealings with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The committee’s chairman, Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., said the testimony at the virtual hearing would help the panel craft legislation that aims to increase the number of […]

Biden slams ‘un-American’ GOP drive to curb voting rights in the states

BY: - March 25, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday in his first formal news conference since taking office blasted Republican-controlled state legislatures that are seeking to restrict voting access, labeling those attempts “sick” and “un-American.” Biden specifically referenced proposals like those working their way through Georgia’s state Capitol, where a final vote loomed on a GOP-drafted bill […]

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 […]