St. Louis Public Radio Politically Speaking: Sen. Schupp talks about paying for family leave and MU’s discord

By Jason Rosenbaum & Jo Mannies • Feb 14, 2016

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, Sen. Jill Schupp returns to the show for the third time to talk about the Missouri General Assembly’s fast start.

The Creve Coeur Democrat was elected to the 24th District Senate, which encompasses more than 20 municipalities in St. Louis County. Schupp is part of an eight-person Democratic caucus that’s seen its influence wane as the GOP made gains in the General Assembly’s upper chamber.

Still, that bloc of lawmakers can stop bills if the members band together for a filibuster – but even that power was called into question after the GOP called the “previous question” during the waning days of the legislative session.

Schupp recently proposed a bill with state Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-Olivette, that would provide paid leave for employees who’ve had a child or are caring for an elderly family member. It’s a measure that seeks to expand on the federal Family and Medical Leave Act – which allows for unpaid time off for people who recently gave birth or are caring for family member.

Here’s what Schupp had to say during the show:

Schupp said her legislation with McCreery could become an incentive for professionals to move the state of Missouri – and potentially help lower-wage workers who need time off to bond with their loved ones.
While she was critical of how University of Missouri-Columbia professor Melissa Click behaved during protests over race relations, Schupp added the intense focus on the communications professor is detracting from a broader point. “It removes our sight from the real concern on campus about whether students of color, minority students are being treated in the same way as their majority white counterparts,” she said.
Schupp also contends her GOP colleagues are backing off of threats to drastically cut funding from the University of Missouri system’s budget.
Schupp voted against Sen. Eric Schmitt’s bill aimed at curbing excessive ordinance violations. She says there’s a more localized way to deal with ticket-happy cities. “If they don’t like what you’re doing or what your message is or what the laws are on the books, they can vote you out of office,” Schupp said. “They have that opportunity, because this is their community.”
After a disastrous end to the 2015 session, Schupp said lawmakers are passing bills more quickly than ever before. But she wondered whether the moral pitfalls that sank the careers of House Speaker John Diehl and Sen. Paul LeVota will be heeded by her future colleagues. “I’d like to think that the better side of our nature takes over. That’s simply not always going to be the case,” she said. “I am sad to say, it may happen again. I don’t know how long those lessons will be heeded.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Jill Schupp on Twitter: @jillschupp

Music: “Trainwreck 1979” by Death From Above 1979

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