Jefferson City — State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, yesterday filed two Senate resolutions regarding two individuals’ failures to comply with subpoenas issued by the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life.
“The decision to refuse to comply with the Senate-issued subpoena is a blatant disregard for our legislative process and authority,” Schaefer said. “There is a big discrepancy on what’s being done with the fetal tissue once it has been sent to the pathologist. We were not asking for patient information. All we are asking for are answers so we can ensure that medical standards are being upheld, women’s health is being protected, and public safety remains the highest quality possible.”
Dr. James Miller and Pathology Services, Inc. and Mary Kogut of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri (PPSLR) refused to comply with properly executed subpoenas, which were issued by the Committee in November 2015. Kogut was asked to provide certain specified records to the Committee within 14 days of receiving the subpoena. An attorney representing Kogut responded via letter in December 2015 objecting to the subpoena and refusing to provide the requested documents, which constitutes a failure to comply with the Committee’s request. Dr. James Miller and Pathology Services also refused to comply with a subpoena that commanded Miller to testify before the Committee and provide certain requested records pertinent to the Committee’s investigation.
Sen. Schaefer’s two resolutions recognize that both Kogut and Miller and Pathology Services, Inc. failed to comply with official Senate requests and had no lawful excuse for their noncompliance.
“The actions of the representatives of Planned Parenthood and Pathology Services, Inc. are in contempt of the power and authority of the Missouri Senate. Their actions of noncompliance are an insult to the members of the Missouri Senate 98th General Assembly,” Schaefer said.
Under Sen. Schaefer’s introduced resolutions, Miller and Kogut are summoned to appear before the body to show cause for why they should not be punished for contempt. The resolutions also authorize the Senate President Pro Tempore and the Secretary of the Senate to issue the necessary process to bring Miller and Kogut before the body. The General Assembly possesses power under the Missouri Constitution to arrest and punish a person guilty of contemptuous behavior by a fine not exceeding $300 or imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 10 days, or both.
Both resolutions must be referred and passed out of the Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions, and Ethics Committee before they can be debated on the floor by the full Senate.