Missouri Senate GOP Agenda Support

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Paul Berry III Congressional Exploratory Committee releases the following statement from Paul Berry III regarding various legislative bills filed by Missouri Republican Senators during the 2016 Legislative Session:

“In the State of Missouri, our rally cry during times of crisis and peace remains we are the Show Me State,” states Berry.  “We are a people that recognize actions trumps empty rhetoric, substance always outweighs form.”  “During the 2016 legislative, I am most proud of our Missouri Republican Senators who have sponsored multiple bills founded in constitutional principles that seek to restrain the weight of government against our own citizens.”  “While there are several Missouri bills filed by Republican Senators that will have a direct impact on the citizens of Missouri Congressional District One, I would like to briefly highlight four Missouri Senate Bills that will address the needs and concerns of our most vulnerable citizens, those individual citizens without a professional lobby in Jefferson City.”

“Senate Bill 451, a criminal record expungement bill filed by Missouri Republican Senator Bob Dixon (R-Greene), will give Missourians who have run afoul of the law related to a nonviolent offense an opportunity to have their criminal record expunged from the public by not receiving another criminal conviction for an appropriate amount of time,” states Berry.  “Senate Bill 451 is vitally important in giving the “bread winners” of Missouri’s families the opportunity at job employment opportunities after receiving a nonviolent Felony conviction, which also has the added benefit of reducing government assistance rolls in Missouri.”

Berry contends, “no Missouri citizen convicted of any nonviolent criminal offense should have the same employment disqualification “scarlet letter” as a child molester, rapist or murder, nor should any child of such parent be regulated to government assistance because their mom or dad are unnecessarily denied employment opportunities.”  “Missouri employers depend upon the criminal justice system to determine appropriate designation of convicted Felon status and a system that appropriately abates such status with a process that has accountability and clarity.”  “Senate Bill 451 sponsored by my fellow Republican Senator Dixon has the potential to be the single most important legislative bill uplifting the workforce of Missouri Congressional District One in decades.”

Berry states, “Another great bill is Senate Bill 924, the Missouri Restoration of Voting Rights Act, filed by Missouri Republican Senator Schaaf (R- Buchanan County).”  “This bill begins to address a core deficiency in current Missouri law regarding a conflict between the Constitution and voting rights of Felons not incarcerated and sentenced to the Missouri Department of Corrections.”  “As a Constitutionalist, I believe that any right afforded the citizens against our government may not be infringed upon by any law written by our government.”  “While the purpose of government laws is to cover the grey areas not directly addressed by our Constitution, there is no gray area when a law absolutely prohibits an act that is also a clear right established by our Constitution.”  “The constitutional right in question is the citizen’s right to suffrage.”

“When a person is released to the community, although under the indirect custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections, there is absolutely no state interest that can be contemplated to deny such person the right to suffrage, nor does the United State or Missouri Constitution support such governmental infringement.”  “To liken such logic to the First Amendment or the Third Amendment, could you imagine any constitutional scenario where someone who has been previously convicted of a crime and permitted to walk free amungus us would be denied the ability to create a news blog, or lose the constitutional right to not be required to quarter soldiers during peacetime.”  “To preserve the governing power of our Constitution, we as a State must utilize strict scrutiny when seeking to restrain any constitutional right afforded our citizens.”  “While Senate Bill 924 will only affect approximately 60,000 Missouri voters, it is a very courageous deed to see Missouri Republican Senator Rob Schaaf push to align our State’s laws with respect to our Constitution.”  “Additionally, Senate Bill 924 further dispels false rhetoric that the Missouri Republican Party seeks to disenfranchise African American voters by requiring all Missourians to utilize a picture I.D. to vote,” reiterates Berry.”

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