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Anti-Bicycle Amendment in Missouri Defeated

In Advocacy, Featured Story, News by Brent HughLeave a Comment

An anti-bicycle amendment was resoundingly defeated on the floor of the Missouri House today.

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Paul Curtman of Pacific, would have removed bicycling from the major transportation funding proposal that will appear before Missouri voters this November, if approved by the General Assembly this spring. 

The controversy over the anti-bicycle amendment, which erupted Thursday, had stalled progress on the Missouri transportation funding proposal.  Once the anti-bicycle amendment was defeated today, the full transportation funding proposal passed the House.  It now moves on to the Senate for final legislative approval, then final approval by Missouri voters in November 2014.

Thousands of cyclists lit up capitol switchboards, email, and social media in the past few days in opposition to the amendment. Dozens of organizations from across Missouri joined in the effort to fight the anti-bicycle amendment, as did major national bicycle, pedestrian, and trails groups.  

That and the person of visits of individual cyclists and representatives from bicycle and pedestrian groups from around Missouri at Bicycle and Pedestrian Day at the Capitol yesterday served to turn the tide against the bill over the past few days.  Several national bicycle and pedestrian groups also supported the grass roots effort with advocacy and social media alerts.

The final voice vote on the amendment was overwhelmingly against the amendment, with only a few lone voices voting in favor. 

Who led the effort in the House to defeat the anti-bicycle amendment?

Representatives Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) and Jeremy LaFaver (D-Kansas City) spoke up on the floor of the House Thursday when the amendment was introduced with no advance warning. Thanks to their work, debate on the bill was halted and we gained time to ramp up our statewide grass roots effort in support of bicycling.

Key leadership in opposing this amendment was provided by many Representatives from across the political spectrum.  Representatives who had heard from their constituents were fired up to defend bicycling, and did so with eloquence and passion.

For their leadership, we would especially like to thank Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur), Genise Montecillo (D-St. Louis), John Rizzo (D-Kansas City), Jacob Hummel (D-St. Louis), Dave Hinson (R-St. Clair, sponsor of the transportation funding proposal in the House), Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan), Ed Schieffer (D-Troy), Nate Walker (R-Kirksville), Jeff Justus (R-Branson), Michael Frame (D-Eureka), and John Diehl (R-Town & Country). 

What you can do now

Please take moment to write or call your own Missouri state representative a note of thanks for their support of bicycling.  At least 85% of representatives voted to defeat the amendment, so you can assume your representative opposed the amendment.

Even supporters of the amendment were gracious enough to not push the issue and allow an amicable resolution to the issue.  So thanks are due all around.

Look up your own Missouri State Representative’s contact information here and write a quick thank-you note.  

The most important victory for bicycling in Missouri in 10 years–and perhaps 100

Defeating this anti-bicycling amendment today was easily the most important victory for bicycling in Missouri in the past ten years.

If the new transportation funding plan is approved by Missouri voters in November 2014, it will become the biggest victory in 100 years.

Since the institution of the gas tax in Missouri and the creation of MoDOT–so for about the past century–we have not been able to spend any Missouri road tax dollars on bicycling or walking.

This new transportation funding proposal will change that.  By including bicycling and walking as essential parts of Missouri transportation funding, it will change everything for bicycling and walking in Missouri.

Thanks so much for the legislators from every part of Missouri and every end of the political spectrum who stood up for bicycling today.

Thanks so much for each and every person who took the time to contact your own legislator to ask them to support bicycling.

Thanks SO MUCH to every legislator who opposed the anti-bicycling amendment–we’ve been able to mention only a few of them in this articles.

Together, we made a HUGE difference for bicycling in Missouri today!

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Brent Hugh

Dr. Brent D. Hugh has two bachelor's degrees and three graduate degrees in the fields of mathematics and music performance from Brigham Young University, Utah State University, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. He has been webmaster, president, and now Executive Director of the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation. Under his leadership, MoBikeFed has grown from an organization with a few dozen members and $500 annual budget to the current membership of over 1400 active members and over $200,000 budget. MoBikeFed is a statewide advocacy organization that works to make the state a better, safer place to walk and bicycle.

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