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IHCM Update

WHAT DOES GOD WANT?

Author Katherine Maria Pinner

by Katherine Maria Pinner

“What does God want?”  Over the course of my life thus far, I have learned both wisely by asking this question and foolishly by not asking this question that it is the most important question one can ask.

The Ultimatum

In late July 2021, my back was against the proverbial wall.  My employer, personally and directly, issued a “mandate” and an “ultimatum” specifically to me, demanding absolute unquestioned compliance.  At that time, I had already filed five separate requests for exemption.  The events leading up to that moment were difficult.  Now the stakes were the highest:  violate my religion and compromise my health per their mandate / ultimatum, or uphold my religion, strongly / sincerely held religious belief and health.

I was getting down on my hands and knees regularly during this time to seek God’s guidance, but the ultimatum drove me to tears, the likes of which I have never experienced.  This decision of whether to comply with the employer’s ultimatum or whether to uphold my religion, would permanently and irrevocably impact, not just my physical life now and in the future, not just my financial livelihood now and in the future, but my everlasting, immortal life.

Down on my hands and knees with tears falling from my eyes, I prayed for God’s help and mercy.  I asked God for counsel and guidance.

“Please, God, help me.”  I don’t know how long I was down there.  Time didn’t seem to matter.  The world around me didn’t seem to matter.  It was just God and me in quiet consultation.  “God, what do you want me to do?”  I waited.  I prayed.  Eventually, the answer came.  It came, not in a burning bush, but in a warm gentle whisper from deep down in my core that permeated my entire being.  Everything in my body, mind, and spirit aligned at that moment.  I knew what God wanted.  I knew what was right, and, therefore, I knew what I needed to do.  “Thank you, God.  Thank you.”

My Story

A little bit about my story.  I am Croatian.  My father came to this country as a young Croatian man when he was twenty-four years old.  Having escaped communism and the tyranny that invaded his homeland after World War II (what was called “Yugoslavia” at that time), he came to this country seeking a better life for himself and his future family.  He did this without any money, without speaking the language, and with a warrant out for his death.  The communists punished you for your religion, and he was the target of religious persecution.  His cousin, a Catholic priest, was forced out of his homeland and into Italy because the religious were being murdered at the directive of a communist dictator.

Bad as that situation was and as documented in my father’s published biographies “Midnight Train” and “Liberté,” this was not the first time Croatians confronted tyranny and religious persecution.  For centuries, the Ottoman Empire ravaged our country of Croatia, as well as our Croatian people.  The soldiers, holding a sword up to the throat of their intended victim, would issue an ultimatum: “convert, or die.”  If the defenseless Croatian did not forsake their religion and strongly / sincerely held religious belief, the soldier would sever their head from their body.  Our Croatian ancestors witnessed this murderous punishment regularly, and yet, with even more vigor and conviction, defended their faith amidst invaders whose sole purpose was mass conversion or mass genocide, all on Croatian soil.

Amidst this constant turmoil, my ancestors on both my mother’s and father’s sides asked the question frequently over many centuries: “What does God want?”  They did not just ask the question on their hands and knees with tears in their eyes, they were ready to defend their religion and strongly / sincerely held religious beliefs to the grave.  My father, knowing what our ancestors endured and having confronted this persecution firsthand, crossed an ocean under threat of death seeking religious freedom and a better life.

In summary, “No” was my response to the employer.  “No, I will not forsake my religion and strongly / sincerely held religious belief and health even as you issue a mandate and ultimatum.”  “The mandate / ultimatum I am obligated to follow comes from GOD.”

The Long and Rocky Road

Thus began the long and rocky road of pursuing justice, first with a Commission (either the State Commission or the EEOC, where all such cases are required by law to begin) which, for example, could not even seem to get my gender and religion correct, much less the charges and proper wording for the claim and whose decisions, I was personally informed, are made by a single “Director” who does not hold a JD; next, with the process of seeking out every Constitutional, First Amendment, special interest, state, employment, specialty, and celebrity attorney in the country, which, having listened to every excuse in the book (mostly around money and reputation and fear of being disbarred), ended in disappointment and rejection; then, with the arduous task of filing and pursuing a lawsuit Pro Se (self-represented) without any interest, education, or experience in the law whatsoever, pursing the equivalent of a law degree on my own over the course of many exhaustive months under threat of having to pay the other party’s legal fees if I should happen to lose and while having to figure out how I was going to pay my own bills and cover my own expenses; and then, working on the matter for the past eighteen months as I, a private unrepresented citizen, work to navigate a complex legal system against an entire international association comprised of thousands of members that has at its disposal legal and HR resources, two professional licensed attorneys on retainer, and one of the largest most reputable firms of twelve partners in the state working against my case as I move a case forward to uphold my rights under the Constitution of the United States of America and Title VII.

The number of hours I alone have personally expended regarding the question over one’s certain, unalienable, SACRED right to the inside of one’s own body (respiratory system, immune system, and conscience) is astounding.  I never anticipated I would have to do this in the United States of America, and yet, here we are.  This was, after all, the very reason my father left his homeland to immigrate to the United States in the first place and here I am, his daughter, once again standing to uphold my right to my religion and strongly / sincerely held religious beliefs.

Because of the employer’s actions, I have had to forgo my professional career and have had to sacrifice large portions of my livelihood.  I have sacrificed a great deal of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness over the past eighteen months and counting, and there is still no court date or hearing scheduled. 

That said, I can think of nothing more important.  What could be more important?  What do I have if I do not have my religion and health?  If I lose those, I have nothing.  Nothing else matters, and, therefore, it is my God-given obligation to persist, just as it was my family’s God-given obligation to persist over the course of many centuries, as they stood up to persecution and even death to uphold our religion and strongly / sincerely held religious beliefs.

We Are Not Alone

Sometimes I feel alone on this long, rocky, uncertain journey, but I remind myself regularly that being alone is only an illusion.  Deuteronomy 31:6 says: “Be brave and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the Lord, your God who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you.”

God is with us, and I am so grateful to connect with people with different stories.  Because of this, I am never truly alone.  We are the silent majority, and that majority is starting to wake up.  We are getting into the courtroom, participating in the school board, speaking in front of legislators, and moving into areas of influence.  IHC has worked on several bills that will advance pending litigation and legislation.  These are victories, and there is hope.

The Way Forward

According to the court schedule and the manner of lawyers in today’s judicial climate, this case could take an additional 12 to 24 months after a schedule is set.  It is hard to imagine, having already spent eighteen months in this pursuit, but the possibility of three and a half years to four years to address a simple Constitutional question in the United States of America is the reality of the system. 

In the meantime, the daily sacrifice is real, and the outcome of the case is uncertain.  I continue to ask God for direction and for the courage to take right action.  Rosa Parks once said: “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.”  How do we know if what we are doing is right?  “What does God want?”  It’s a simple question, but the answer in my case and so many others like mine, involves sacrifice, sacrifice like what my ancestors and my father had to endure, sacrifice like changing careers or making less money, sacrifice like what many members of groups like IHC recognize and endure firsthand.  Sacrifice is not easy, but then again when has anyone stood up to a bully or done what is right when it is against the mob or gone out in pursuit of justice with the reality of death or starvation confronting them, and called it easy?

It takes courage.  It takes stamina.  It takes moxy.  It takes risk.  And more than any of these, it takes strong focus on the one true thing that truly matters in this world and in the next: “What does God want?”

About the Contributor Katherine Maria Pinner is an author and innovation consultant.  She is the daughter of Croatian parents, Mirko and Sylvia Coric.  She is a resident of Saint Louis, Missouri where she was born, and holds numerous professional certifications in her field.  Her greatest passions are for speaking, writing, education, and the environment.  For more information on the biographies “Midnight Train” and “Liberté,” or to sign up for updates on this lawsuit, go to www.kmpinner.com/books

Categories
IHCM Update

What is Concurrent Majority Ratification?

One of the issues that seem to have very broad interest and is time-sensitive is the need to raise the bar on ratifying amendments to the Missouri Constitution.

“Concurrent Majority Ratification” (CMR) concept would require two conditions be met for an amendment to be approved:

It would need a majority of the votes cast in favor statewide and also a majority of votes cast in favor in each of more than half of the state house of representatives districts.

Learn more by reading this blog so wonderfully written by Jodi Grace;


https://jodigrace.com/blog/38933/hot-topic-changing-the-missouri-constitution

Let’s Stay in Touch!

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IHCM Update

Medical Privacy

Global Integration of Personal Health Data
Comes to Missouri

“Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for, in plain language, and repeatedly. I believe people are smart. Some people want to share more than other people do. Ask them.”
— Steve Jobs

On June 7, 2021 Missouri joined the other 49 states in passing the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. SB 63 was one of Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s first priorities that year.

As the governor said in this 2021 press release,

Establishing a statewide prescription drug monitoring program has been a top priority for my administration, and I want to thank Senator Holly Rehder and Representative Travis Smith for working to get this landmark legislation across the finish line,” Governor Parson said. “SB 63 will help provide necessary information to health care professionals and empower them to make decisions that better serve their patients and assist in fighting the opioid epidemic in Missouri.”

And an epidemic it might be, but an even bigger problem has been the heavy-handed solution — both the signing away of our data privacy with PDMP and disciplinary actions, fines, and jail sentences for doctors who dare to prescribe pain medications for the chronically ill. It brings new meaning to never letting a crisis go to waste. Even those who do not prescribe pharmaceuticals are facing threats for suggesting that supplements can be beneficial, as Dr. Eric Nepute found out earlier this when he was slapped with 500 million dollars in fines for prescribing Vitamin D during the early weeks of the Covid outbreak.

The Data Collection Epidemic

Though there might be a crisis of drug use in Missouri, it’s debatable whether giving up our privacy to the PDMP drug monitoring systems will prove to be worth the sacrifice.

In many ways, it seems that we have traded the promise of security for our freedom in inviting the PDMP system into our state and the “integration of health” that comes with it. It wasn’t long after PDMP passed that the Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services announced their replacement for Dr. Randall Williams, Dr. Donald Kauerauf, to lead Missouri as the department chair. With a long history in programs designed to monitor individuals including children for the sake of public health, the grassroots strongly opposed the nomination, after which Governor Parson withdrew his appointment.

SB 7 to the Rescue

However, the state bureaucracies’ push toward data control and consolidation of health data continues, thanks to a new bill that would put the management of the state’s data, including private health data, in the hands of a new state official. Sen. Caleb Rowden’s SB 7 would create a new position, a Chief Data Officer appointed by the Commissioner of Administration.

Duties of the Chief Data Officer:

  • Oversee each state agency’s management of electronic data
  • Classify its data into levels of sensitivity
  • Develop, adopt and update written policy for breaches of electronic data
  • Develop, adopt and update policy for disposal of electronic data
  • Adopt standards and procedures
  • State agencies shall communicate and cooperate with CDO

Consolidation of data may seem like a good idea, considering the data breaches that have happened with state’s online databases as recently as 2021, after PDMP was adopted. As the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported in October of that year, hackers accessed the private, financial data of teachers, counselors, and administrators across Missouri. Based on state pay records, over 100,000 social security numbers were vulnerable.

As with every crisis, however, the quick solution usually means less freedom and more control — in this case, expanding the bureaucracy in Missouri to manage all of the data in one place and it isn’t clear who would have that job at any given moment. If the Chief Data Officer is unavailable, the Commissioner of Administration will be responsible — or anyone he designates. At best, this would be an unelected bureaucrat. While centralization might make sense for a private business, it is not what we expect from government, especially with public-private partnerships becoming more and more of a problem.

Integrated Health Networks

This month, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced their new position that sounds very much like what SB 7 proposes — a Chief Medical Officer. If the new CMO Dr. Heidi B. Miller’s plans are implemented, our state will soon have an integrated system where an infinite number of providers, hospital, and stakeholders from within our state and beyond will have access to your data. In a press release earlier this month, the department announced that Dr. Miller would “continue to build and implement the vision of an integrated public health and health care system“. “I have devoted my career to improving population health and caring for patients in Missouri,” said Miller.

Missouri is well on the way to this goal. That state already has agreements with the health software company Netsmart, which collaborated recently with the global data and healthcare IT solution company Bamboo Health to manage its mental health support crisis network, Missouri Behavioral Health Connect. Missouri’s mental health data will be part of a nationwide network. As Bamboo Health says of this integrated network,

By working together to connect healthcare providers, emergency departments and crisis response professionals across a national network, OpenBeds and Netsmart will deliver an advanced system to help states, counties and providers respond to 988 and crisis line demands. Streamlining mobile crisis service coordination, treatment facility bed availability, electronic transfers and referrals to behavioral health services, the solution will create a full-picture view of an individual’s journey, including health history and treatment and services, making it easier for providers to get patients engaged with the right level of care they need quickly.

— Bamboo Health, April 2022


What could possibly go wrong?

Once this vision of an integrated public healthcare system is in place, your data will be everywhere, vulnerable to attack far beyond Missouri and perhaps the U.S. Worse yet, the information the state is sharing with companies like Bamboo Health could be used against you if you, for instance, disagree with a doctor’s diagnosis or plan of care. If you are flagged in a national system as being uncooperative, all providers you visit — all hospitals you go to for care — will see it. What used to be a private relationship between a doctor and a patient is fast becoming readily available to an alarming number of people.

SB 7 is the next piece of the puzzle needed in the consolidation of data in order to optimize public health in Missouri, perhaps with PDMP as the data bank. This bill has been referred to Emerging Issues, although no hearing has been scheduled. We will be watching this bill and sending action alerts should it begin moving in the Senate.

To receive IHC action alerts in your inbox about this important bill and others, or to keep in touch with updates on health freedom through our healthcare worker and IHC Legislation teams, sign up for email alerts. We are making progress, educating and empowering Missourians to advocate for themselves and their families.

Let’s Stay in Touch!

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IHCM Update

Update on the Missouri House Vote on HR 11

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Wednesday morning, January 11th, the Missouri House of Representatives passed the hotly-contested House Resolution 11 (HR 11) which handed unprecedented power to the Missouri Speaker of the House. Though Republican representatives pushed back in the days leading up the vote, in the end they ceded significant power to the Speaker, authority never intended for one person in our government.

IHCM and other Missouri grassroots groups issued action alerts urging Missourians to call their legislators and tell them to oppose these rules which basically give the Speaker of the House the power to decide the fate of all bills in Missouri.

As a result of HR 11, the Speaker is now authorized to do the following:

– Choose when and to which committee a bill is assigned
– Choose which rules committee would hear that bill once it passes (the bill also authorizes an additional committee)
– Choose the chair of those committees
– Chooses the committee chairman or members
– Decide when bills are referred to rules committee and to which committee they are referred
– When a bill can move from rules to the House calendar.
– Sole power to remove both a chairman and a committee member

Additionally the new rules would limited the number of bills reps can file to 20 without the Speaker’s approval. So basically, the Speaker now controls the flow of all legislation in Missouri.

Though the original language was actually worse — such as the provision limiting the number of minutes a Rep was allowed for floor debate from 15 to 10 (returned to 15 for the committee substitute) as well as no limit on the number of days a bill could sit waiting to be referred by the Speaker — the concessions leadership made took away even more of their power to speak for their constituents.

Only one Republican representative, Chris Sander District 33, voted “no”, the vote he pledged to make. Several House Democrats such as Peter Merideth from District 80 also voted “no” and filed strong, common-sense amendments which were all voted down. Two other Republican reps, Herman Morse District 151, and Cheri Toalson-Reisch Distrct 44, voted “present”. It takes a lot of courage to go against House leadership in any way and we are thankful for representatives who do.

(Photos courtesy of Jodigrace.com)

Unfortunately, the overwhelming “yes” votes mean that Missouri’s Speaker of the House is now second only to the governor in his ability to control the laws passed in Missouri.

Listen to Wednesday’s House floor debate on HR 11 here. Scroll to Wed. Jan 11. HR 11 Starts around 10:23:00.

What can you do?

IHCM is determined to continue supporting bills that affirm our health freedom and educating reps on which ones accomplish that — even if that means we stop more bad bills than pass good ones. It’s better to want legislation you don’t have than to have laws you don’t want.

Get involved with IHCM and learn which candidates will not give away your right to representation so easily. Stay updated by signing up for our email list below.

Our legislative team, Informed Health Choice, travels to the capitol weekly to talk to legislators about bills that affect health freedom. If you have questions, please join our email list, check back here frequently for updates, and connect with us via social media (see links below).

IHCM: Courage is Contagious!

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IHCM Update

The Missouri House is About to Vote to Steal YOUR Power

The Missouri House may vote THIS WEEK to give the Speaker of the House unprecedented power to decide the fate of all bills. HR11, unless modified, would take away the power you give your legislator to represent you.

What is HR 11?

House Resolution 11 (HR 11) is a bill that outlines the rules by which the Missouri House of Representatives will operate. Every two years, the Missouri Reps agree on the rules that determine the flow of legislation through this branch of Missouri government.

Though House Rules have changed over the years, the modifications this session are extreme in that they would further give one person, the Speaker of the House, unprecedented authority to dictate the agenda of the entire House at the expense of the other 162 Reps and the voters who elected them.

What Does HR 11 Do?

If passed, this resolution would, in part:

– Give the Speaker sole power to appoint a subcommittee, taking that
power away from the committee chairman.
– Designate which rules committee would hear a bill after it is voted out of
committee.
– Reduce the number of bills that can be filed by each member without
the Speaker’s permission to 20.

The Missouri House should be a place where many ideas are discussed and many bills are heard. The outcome should not be predetermined before session begins by one person, who could easily be influenced by special interests.

Why is Giving the Speaker More Power a Problem?

As Ron Calzone from Missouri First (mofirst.org) explains, “Political power should NOT be concentrated in a few hands, but should be distributed evenly among the originators and representatives of that power. (e.g. “one man, one vote”). Elected officials are supposed to be stewards of the power the people loaned them and have no right to cede that power to anyone else, but that’s what happens every two years when senators and representatives at both the state and federal level vote on a new set of rules for their respective chambers.”

These new House Rules would make Missouri Representatives “vassals of the people in leadership positions.”

What Does the MO Constitution Say?

The Missouri Constitution affirms the natural rights of Missourians. All laws passed in the legislature must be in keeping with the Constitution. What does it say about your power?

“In order to assert our rights, acknowledge our duties, and proclaim the principles on which our government is founded, we declare: That all political power is vested in and derived from the people; that all government of right originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole.” — MO Constitution, Article 1, Section 1

Representatives Should Be Stewards of the Power You Give Them

Mr. Calzone, in his recent article also writes, “The primary function of leaders, from the Speaker to committee chairmen, is to make sure voters have a say. In fact, that’s the way it used to be in our great state. The rules that govern the House of Representatives must NOT be changed in such a way that give a few, choice members in leadership MORE power, but in ways that divest that power back into the hands of each and every member.”

What Can YOU Do?

Call or email your Missouri Representative TODAY. This vote may take place tomorrow, Wed. Jan. 11th.

Tell them that unless substantial changes are made in the points enumerated above, that they need to vote “NO” on HR 11 when it comes to the House floor this week.

Concessions are being made, but there is still work to be done. Let your Rep know that you expect him/her to guard the power you gave them, just like the brave Representatives in Washington DC did last week. Our great state is depending on this pivotal action.

Please call, email and pray that these legislators will do the right thing.

Find your reps contact info here;
House.Mo.gov


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