Entries in Amendment (3)


Missouri Passes Right to Pray Amendment

Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) -- Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution reiterating individuals’ right to pray publicly and in schools.

On a day when GOP primaries promised the most competitive statewide races, the amendment passed with 83 percent of the vote, with only two precincts still outstanding.  The measure was introduced by Republican state Rep. Mike McGhee andwas  moved onto the ballot by the General Assembly.

The amendment’s official ballot title was as follows:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure:

-- That the right of Missouri citizens to express their religious beliefs shall not be infringed;

-- That school children have the right to pray and acknowledge God voluntarily in their schools; and

-- That all public schools shall display the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

Freedom of speech and religion are already protected under the Bill of Rights, prompting critics of the bill to call it unnecessary and a move to trample religious minorities.  Republican lawmakers pursued the measure as a clarification of doubt.

Speaking to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in May, Democratic state Rep. Mike Kelly criticized the amendment as “jobs bill for lawyers.”  The measure also drew opposition from the Islamic Foundation of St. Louis, which voiced fears that the bill sent a message of exclusion to religious minorities.  Missouri’s four Catholic bishops supported the amendment, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Senate Narrowly Rejects the Keystone Oil Pipeline Amendment

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s pipeline lobbying paid off...for now.

A controversial Republican amendment to a transportation bill, to mandate construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, has failed in the Senate.

The numbers may be a little too close for comfort for the White House: the amendment fell just short of the 60 votes needed for the amendment to be included in the final bill, at 56-42.

President Obama had personally lobbied Democrats, telephoning members of Congress directly to encourage them to reject the measure.

The amendment would have taken the pipeline’s approval process out of President Obama’s hands and mandated an expedited building of the pipeline project in light of the nation’s rising gas prices.

“The president obviously has communications with members of Congress with some regularity,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Thursday, confirming the lobbying effort. “We have made our position clear about purely ideological and political efforts to attach legislation regarding the Keystone pipeline to whatever some members of Congress fancy at the time.”

This pressure from the president put many moderate Democrats, some of whom are running for re-election from oil producing states that would benefit from the pipeline, in tough positions with their vote Thursday.

Ultimately, eleven Democrats voted in favor of the pipeline provision, bucking the White House’s stance on the issue -- Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.

Not a single Republican voted against the measure. Sen. Kirk, R-Ill., and Sen. Thune, R-S.D., missed the vote.

This close vote will provide motivation for Republicans to keep pushing for the pipeline.

Moments after the vote Republicans vowed to keep fighting on this issue and said they were “heartened” by the 56 votes indicating that with work this could eventually get passed.

Republicans blamed President Obama for the failure of the measure.

“It was very strong words by President Obama himself making calls to the Democrats,” Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., said, "I suppose you can give credit to the president for once again blocking something."

“President Obama’s personal pleas to wavering Senators may have tipped the balance against this legislation,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kent., said in a statement, “When it comes to delays over Keystone, anyone looking for a culprit should now look no further than the Oval Office.”

The amendment would have been part of the $109 billion transportation bill that Senators have been debating on for weeks. After a deal was reached Wednesday night and the vote on amendments was held Thursday it looks like the bill will be on track for final passage next week before the March 31 deadline for passage.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum Attacks Romney on Birth Control Amendment

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(ATLANTA) -- Rick Santorum clobbered Mitt Romney in Atlanta Thursday for an interview the former Massachusetts governor did the day before in which Romney seemed to say he did not support an amendment that would try to curtail the Obama administration’s new requirements on contraception coverage.

The Romney campaign quickly clarified Wednesday that the candidate does support the amendment, that he was just confused by the way the reporter phrased the question. Yet Thursday at a rally Santorum said it offers “insight into what’s in the gut of Governor Romney.”

The amendment, which was sponsored by Republican Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt and was voted down Thursday in the Senate, would have rolled back the Obama administration’s controversial requirement that all institutions providing health insurance -- including Catholic universities and hospitals -- must cover contraception, including emergency contraception.

“Having a conscience-clause exemption used to be something that Democrats and Republicans all agreed to. Now it’s not. When Governor Romney was asked that question, his knee-jerk reaction was, ‘No, I can’t be for that,’” Santorum said at an airplane hangar rally in front of about 150 people. “And then after his consultants talked to him, he came back and said, ‘Oh, I didn’t understand the question.’… I tell you if I was asked a question like that, my gut reaction would be always, my gut reaction would be, you stand for the First Amendment. You stand for freedom of religion.”

He told the audience in this Super Tuesday state, which holds the most delegates, that they need a nominee who “at their core beliefs is going to step up and fight, not put them on the backburner and just focus on one or two things that may be popular, like cutting taxes.”

During an interview with the Ohio News Network on Wednesday, Romney said he did not support the proposal that would allow employers to opt out of providing coverage for birth control if they disagreed with it. Thursday in North Dakota he said he was “in favor” of the amendment.

“Look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, husband and wife, I’m not going there,” Romney told the reporter.

Santorum told the Georgia voters Thursday that he wants to do well in every Super Tuesday state. “Georgia needs to be part of that,” Santorum said. He spent the rest of Thursday campaigning in Washington state ahead of its caucus on Saturday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio