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Post Fourth of July News and Notes

Second African American Chief Justice Starts Term for Missouri

Missouri Supreme Court Judge George Draper on July 1 began a term as chief justice, a post that rotates every two years among the court’s seven members. Draper replaces Judge Zel Fischer, who had served as chief justice since July 2017. Fischer, a 2008 appointee of Republican Gov. Matt Blunt, will remain a member of the court.
Draper, 65, was appointed to the Supreme Court in October 2011 by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat. Prior to that he was a three-time judicial appointee of Gov. Mel Carnahan, also a Democrat, who appointed him as an associate circuit judge in St. Louis city in 1994 and a full circuit judge in 1998 before putting him on the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District 2000. In all four positions combined, Draper has served a quarter-century on bench.
Draper is just the second African-American to serve on the Missouri Supreme Court and also the second to become chief justice, following Judge Ronnie White in both posts. White, currently a federal district judge, served on the state high court from 1995 to 2007, including a term a chief justice from 2003-2005.
Missouri's Last Abortion Clinic Remains Open...For Now
Missouri’s last remaining abortion clinic again dodged possible closure on June 28 when a member of the state Administrative Hearing Commission issued a stay while the clinic appeals the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ refusal to renew its license. The stay came just hours before a judge’s order that had allowed the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis to continue performing abortions was set to expire.
In his order, Commissioner Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi said the clinic’s appeal appeared likely to succeed on the merits and that it would suffer irreparable harm if its license were to be pulled pending the outcome of the case, The Kansas City Star reported on June 28. Dandamudi originally was scheduled to hear arguments Aug. 1 but later delayed proceedings to Oct. 28 at the request of the parties, the paper later reported.
The health department had attempted to allow the clinic’s license to lapse on June 1 without rejecting it, a move that would have left the clinic in procedural limbo and unable to appeal to the AHC, a quasi-judicial panel that is the first stop for appeals of administrative decisions made by state agencies. However, Planned Parenthood sued to force a final decision, which the department finally did under court order on June 21 by rejecting the license renewal application, thus allowing the clinic to appeal.
The effort by Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s administration to administratively close the state’s last abortion provider followed his May signing of legislation that will criminalize abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy, with no exception for rape or incest. That legislation is scheduled to take effect Aug. 28 but is expected to be challenged in court for violating U.S. Supreme Court precedent guaranteeing abortion rights.


Upcoming Club Meetings and Events:

  • Grain Valley Dems Meeting: Join this new Eastern Jackson County club on Wednesday July 10, 6:30pm at 32202 Pink Hill Road. Business begins at 7pm.
  • 40 Club: monthly labor lunch Tuesday, July 9 at noon hosted at Sheet Metal Local 2, 2902 Blue Ridge Blvd). Speaker to be announced. $15.
  • Lee's Summit Democrats: Quarterly meeting July 11, 7pm at Llywelyn's Pub (301 SE Douglas).
  • Rep. Keri Ingle Re-Election Kickoff: Join Lee's Summit State Representative Keri Ingle as she begins her campaign for re-election in the very competitive 35th District. July 9 at Llywelyn's Pub (301 SE Douglas) from 5:30 to 7:30pm. All donations are appreciated!
  • Mayor Sly James Cookout: Farewell event for outgoing KC Mayor James. July 14, 4-7pm featuring live entertainment, food and drinks. KC Urban Youth Academy (1622 E 17th Terr. KCMO). Click here to register:
  • Pete Buttigieg for President Grassroots Event: Tuesday, July 16th, 7pm in Kansas City. Final details including address upon RSVP. Click here for tickets:
  • Heartland Alliance for Progress: Monthly meeting at new location. "Follow the Money" featuring Sean Nicholson of GPS Strategies and Lauren Gepford of the Missouri Democratic Party. July 22nd, 5:15-7pm at the KCPT Building Conference Room (125 E 21st St. KCMO).
  • Unity Picnic: Raytown Democratic Association's annual Democratic unity picnic, July 27 4-6pm at Kenagey Park. Family friendly! $10 gets you food and drinks. Special guests to be announced.
  • Missouri State Party Building Blue Event: Annual dinner and fundraiser for the state party August 17 at Ameristar Resort and Spa in St. Charles. 7pm. Visit for details.
  • Clay County Democrats Night at the Elms: Second annual dinner and fundraiser August 10 at the Elms Hotel and Spa.  More information to come.
  • National Democratic Training Committee Session: "Blue Bench Training" We will have three separate tracks for candidates, campaign staff, and local organizers. All three will include focuses in messaging, fundraising, field, and digital. This event is open to anyone interested in running for office, is staff on a campaign (or hopes to be), or for anyone within the local party infrastructure. September 7, 9am-4:30pm at UMKC. Click here to RSVP: