As a society, we are very dependent on electricity. Where would we be, if suddenly, that supply of electricity went away? This is a question addressed by a new Missouri research group, the American Leadership and Policy Foundation (ALPF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit research organization. The ALPF recently had its groundbreaking study involving the strategic threats to America’s electrical grid posed by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), featured in a report submitted to Congress. More on this topic in the first section of this week’s report.
Also, as Veterans Day approaches, several events across the state will soon start to take place. As an official kickoff for “Veterans Week”, the Lt. Governor Mike Parson is inviting all veterans, law enforcement, and emergency personnel to the Capitol this Saturday, Nov. 4 at 10 a.m. for a day full of celebratory events. The ceremony will feature performances by the Monticello Singers and displays by the Missouri National Guard and State Highway Patrol. Special recognition will be given to all attending World War II and Korea veterans as well as veterans currently serving in law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency personnel. Motorcycles and patrol cars are welcomed and encouraged.
Missouri-Based American Leadership & Policy Foundation Has EMP Research Featured in Report to U.S. Homeland Security Committee
As noted above, the American Leadership and Policy Foundation (ALPF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit research organization, recently had its groundbreaking study involving the strategic threats to America’s electrical grid posed by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), featured in a report submitted to Congress. The Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack reporting to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security—Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency referred to ALPF’s research in its statement:
“We recommend that the President direct the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to launch a crash program to harden the over 100 nuclear power reactors and their spent fuel storage facilities against nuclear EMP attack. Nuclear power reactors typically only have enough emergency power to cool reactor cores and spent fuel rods for a few days, after which they would “go Fukushima” spreading radioactivity over much of the United States.”
Specifically, an EMP incident can occur from an atmospheric nuclear explosion producing radioactive fallout that scrambles the transmission of electricity (you may have heard some of this discussion lately as a threat from North Korea). An EMP can also occur from space weather and solar flares, which produce the same effect. The ALPF report focuses upon the nuclear reactors around the U.S. and the state of readiness for these facilities if an EMP event shutdown their operating controls. The report found that immediate and serious problems would develop within a week of such a catastrophe, and the nation would be ill- prepared to counter the life-threatening consequences associated with such a cataclysmic event.
The EMP threat has been downplayed for years, but it is a serious threat because we cannot function without electricity. Certain measures, such as hardening our electrical grid, can be accomplished in a relatively short time, and at low cost. Other measures take longer at a higher cost, but considering the potential downside, it would be better for us to act now than to suffer the full effects of an adverse event later.
As an ALPF Senior Fellow and Board Member, I collaborated with constituent, David Stuckenberg, the Founder and Chairman of ALPF and a U.S. Air Force instructor pilot, along with a variety of experts to develop this report. Also, I am extremely proud of the fact that ALPF was founded right here in Missouri. I believe the recognition being given to this report demonstrates that concerned Americans can take action and make a difference.
In April 2016, I attended the Texas Grid Security Summit, along with Captain Stuckenberg and other ALPF members, to serve as a panelist in a discussion of EMP threats to the national food supply, and consider the state of readiness for an EMP event around the country. These panels explored the possibilities of an EMP situation and the effects it might have in such areas as national defense, transportation, and communications. For more information, and to read the full report submitted to Congress, visit: http://www.alpf.org/security/empty-threat-or-serious-danger-assessing-north-koreas-risk-to-the-homeland/ .
Pro-Life Legislation Becomes Law (SB 5)
A new law took effect last week that is meant to better ensure the health and safety of women by putting common sense safety requirements in place for abortion clinics. Approved by the legislature during a special session held in June, the bill is also designed to protect pregnancy resource centers from a city ordinance the governor says has made St. Louis an abortion sanctuary city.
The bill that now becomes law contains several provisions to protect the health and safety of women. Some of the main provisions of the bill will:
- Allow the attorney general to prosecute violations of state abortion laws with no obligation to first inform local prosecutors;
- Require the physician who is to perform an abortion to inform the woman of the immediate and long-term medical risks associated with the proposed method of abortion 72 hours prior to the procedure;
- Allow the Department of Health and Senior Services to adopt rules governing complication plans to ensure patients undergoing abortions induced by drugs or chemicals have access to safe and reliable care;
- Prevent abortion clinic staff from requesting emergency responders to alter their normal response procedure by turning off lights or sirens;
- Require an abortion facility to provide affirmative evidence that each person authorized to perform abortions is a physician currently licensed to practice in Missouri;
- Allow the state health department to adopt separate rules to apply to ambulatory surgical centers and to apply to abortion facilities;
- Permit the health department to make an unannounced on-site inspection of any abortion facility at least annually;
- Strengthen penalties for abortion clinics and hospitals that do not comply with the requirements for submitting fetal tissue after an abortion; and
- Require that all tissue removed at the time of abortion be sent to a pathologist within five days for examination.
The stronger safety regulations are meant to address a court ruling that struck down Missouri’s previous law that required abortion providers to abide by the same regulations imposed on ambulatory surgical centers. The court also did away with a law that required a doctor providing an abortion to have privileges at a nearby hospital. The Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis has had to call an ambulance 58 times in the last seven years with 23 of the calls made to respond to hemorrhages as a complication of abortion. Also, the St. Louis facility was cited by the Department of Health and Senior Services more than 100 times from 2009 to 2016 for failure to provide a safe and sanitary environment.
Standing up to a recent court challenge is the provision in the bill that requires the doctor who will perform an abortion to give information about the procedure to the woman 72 hours before it is performed. Missouri had allowed any “qualified professional” to discuss the information with the patient. Planned Parenthood filed suit saying the new requirement would place “extreme and unprecedented” requirements on women seeking abortion and would “unduly restrict” their access to the procedure. However, this week, a Jackson County judge rejected the challenge to the new law, saying it was “at best a moderate modification of the informed consent restraints already in place.” With that, the provision will take effect along with the rest of the bill.
Finally, the bill addresses the St. Louis city ordinance designed to, as the governor said, make it illegal for pro-life organizations to say that they just want to hire pro-life Missourians. The new law acknowledges and protects the right of an "alternatives to abortion" agency to operate freely and engage in speech without governmental interference, and the right of a person not to be compelled by the government to participate in an abortion contrary to his or her religious beliefs or moral convictions.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.