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Mary Elizabeth Coleman won’t prioritize more anti-abortion bills in Senate

State Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman (R-97) rallies behind a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, 2022, outside the Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, Missouri’s last abortion-care provider.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, photographed celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning of Roe v.s. Wade in June, will begin her first term as a state senator in January.

Newly elected state Sen. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold, said she wants to focus on legislative policies beyond abortion.

While Coleman said getting the state’s near total abortion ban passed is one of the highlights of her political career, she’s confident in the law and wants to move on.

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, Coleman also spoke on her support for changing the initiative petition process when it comes to amending Missouri’s constitution.

Republican lawmakers last session failed to pass legislation that would have modified the process of getting issues on the ballot through signatures from Missourians.

Modification to the process could include raising the number of signatures needed for a measure to appear on the ballot or increasing how many votes a measure needs to pass. Making it harder to amend Missouri’s constitution could obstruct any attempts to get the right to an abortion protected or prohibited through an initiative petition.

Here are some other matters Coleman spoke about on the show:

  • The dynamics of the Senate, which has been dysfunctional over the past few years. Coleman says she mainly sees it as a clash of personalities rather than policies. She’s excited to see Republicans together in one caucus with the elimination of the conservative caucus this year.
  • How she feels state Republicans fared in the past election and how much new redistricting maps were a factor.  
  • Whether issues like the overturning of Roe v. Wade or marijuana legalization being on the ballot played a factor in election outcomes.
  • Republican legislative priorities in the new year, including sports betting.
  • Her own bills that she wants to see passed, including one that would eliminate state sales taxes on food.

Coleman was first elected to the Missouri House in 2018. Last month, she was elected to her first term in the Senate. She will represent District 22, which contains part of Jefferson County.

Sarah Kellogg is a Missouri Statehouse and Politics Reporter for St. Louis Public Radio and other public radio stations across the state.
Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.