Missouri governor pardons clergy who protested for Medicaid

Former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. (Photo credit MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) –¬†Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has pardoned 16 religious leaders convicted of trespassing at the Missouri Senate for protesting in support of Medicaid expansion.

The pardons announced Friday affect most of the 22 people convicted last August for their role in the 2014 protest. Nixon’s office said the other six people did not seek clemency.

The religious leaders, many of whom are black, were among hundreds of clergy and activists who chanted and sang hymns while calling on the Republican-led Senate to expand Medicaid under Democratic President Barack Obama’s health care law. Lawmakers declined to do so.

Nixon also pardoned two other people and granted a commutation to one person on Friday.

That brings his clemency total to 110 people _ the most by a Missouri governor in three decades.