Your View: KOMU 8 responds to coverage of religious freedom bill

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COLUMBIA — The Missouri Senate recently took part in the longest filibuster it’s ever seen earlier this month on revisions to a religious freedom bill, and KOMU 8 was there to cover it.

The revisions to the SJR 39 bill proposes government protection for businesses and individuals that refuse to provide services to members of the LGTBQ community if they cite a religious belief. The amendment also includes protection to shield clergy and places of worship that decline to participate in same-sex weddings.

“Currently it’s been voted out of the Missouri Senate. It’s got two months to pass out of the Missouri House and if it passes out of the Missouri House, it will go on the ballot for voters in either August or November,” said Representative Stephen Webber (D-Columbia).

KOMU 8 recently covered the bill’s process through the legislative system. However one viewer commented that our coverage was confusing.

“The story is not about a bill. It’s a resolution that would take the language to the vote of the people. And KOMU, do your job and get the information correct before you publish an article with incorrect information,” Liane Kuhn said.

KOMU content manager Matt Johnson said reporters are told if they are confused on how the legislative process works they are encouraged to ask questions. However, because it is a complicated process sometimes facts are left out. 

"What we did not include in this story is that the bill would eventually have to go to a vote of the people," said Johnson. "That was just one of many important facts in the story, but one that was left out and shouldn't have been left out. There are dozens of facts that are involved in every story, and we try our best to give our viewers context...but that doesn't always happen."

Webber said the legislative process for a bill to pass is complicated by design.

“The process is designed to be contentious and it’s designed to take a period of time. It’s supposed to be difficult for something to pass... that can make it difficult for citizens who are trying to follow it,” Webber said.

How do you feel about KOMU’s coverage on this story?

We want to hear from you. Let us know by commenting on this story, our Facebook page, or by tweeting at us @KOMUnews. Then watch KOMU 8 News on Fridays at 6:00 p.m. for your view of the news.

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