Sen. Hegeman’s Column for the Week of March 1: Protecting the Rights of Every Missourian

The Missouri Senate spent a great deal of time discussing a measure this week that comes in response to some of the protests and other activity we have seen over the past year. Despite the fact the goings on have not taken place — for the most part — in northwest Missouri.

Unfortunately, some of these protests have gone beyond the scope of peaceful or acceptable, in my opinion. If you look at what has happened in Minneapolis; Portland, Oregon; or St. Louis over the past 12 months, you will see some instances where I think some people with the right intentions may have let their passion go a bit far. When this has happened, innocent people with no connection to these demonstrations have been injured and sometimes killed.

To this end, Senate Bill 26 seeks to make changes to some of the laws overseeing protesting and other activity. Thanks to input from a lot of different senators, this proposal seeks a balance, so that private property rights are protected just as strongly as the right to protest continues to be ensured.

I believe we need to take care of our law enforcement officers. They do so much to keep us safe. Senate Bill 26 looks after them as much as it works to crack down on vandalism or blocking traffic as part of protesting. Peacefully protesting is perfectly fine. It is a part of our country’s history. When it goes beyond peaceful, it makes things more difficult for all of us, including those who take part in the activity. In my opinion, this legislation works to keep civility in mind and protect everyone’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.