Top-Down Power Structure Needs to Crumble


Leadership roles in the missouri house 

Speaker of the House - Dean Plocher
Majority Floor Leader - Jon Patterson

These two been voted into the top two House leadership roles for the 102nd Missouri General Assembly (MOGA).  The 102nd session will extend from 2023 through the end of session in 2024.  They'll have these positions two years.

The specifics on how they got voted in and what that process looked like is a story for another time, but suffice it to say that election machine glitches don't just happen in Arizona.

why the rules of the house are important

The bottom line is the Rules of the House dictate how a bill moves through the process of being passed.  They literally change how a bill becomes law, who has authority and power at what points in the process, who gets to vote, who gets to speak and for how long, who allows reps to speak on issues, who chooses which bills go before a committee or even get to be voted on and so much more.

Yes, our Constitution says a bill will pass through the House, but the Rules of the House dictate how that happens and it's the representatives themselves who write the rules and vote to approve them at the beginning of each session.

If you didn't read the article from yesterday, check it out for more info.

top-down power means unequal representation of the people

The problem with the Rules of the House is that they have been top-down for far too long and it started way before Plocher.  The Speaker of the House has entirely too much power and it wouldn't matter if my favorite rep had the position - it's still wrong.

The Majority Floor Leader, in this case we have Jon Patterson, also has a lot of power individually to allow bills to move forward or to stop them.  

What happens is these two individuals regardless of who they are set the agenda for the entire House.  They choose priorities and EVERYONE who has been around the capitol for any amount of time knows that what leadership wants - leadership gets.

A previous Speaker has even said something to the tune of it's pretty much a waste to even come to work if you aren't the Speaker.

This means YOU aren't truly being represented if your rep isn't in a leadership role!!   Our rank & file members are nearly hog-tied as far as being able to accomplish anything at all.

So if the Speaker & Majority Floor Leader have all the power, how does your rep get anything done??

rank & file member success

Because of the current power structure, our "rank & file" House members have very little ability to get anything at all accomplished unless they can barter with the Speaker or attach something they want onto a bill they know leadership is pushing.

This is one reason we end up with "Kitchen Sink" bills that have so many things added to them that truly shouldn't be.  Just like in DC, they pass huge omnibus bills that may have 15 horrendous things included but they all vote yes to get their one tiny little nugget of goodness (we hope) across the line.

a lobbyist's dream come true

This top down situation breeds corruption faster than Superman can fly home.

If you were a lobbyist, who would you be most concerned about wining & dining?  
Whose campaign fund and PAC would you probably want to add to your contribution list?   

If you were a lobbyist or even another politician, you'd be a fool to look at the members as equal.  They aren't.  You'd first fill the Speaker's "war chest" as much as possible, then add to the Majority Floor Leader's and whatever you have leftover from your budget would get spread among the Committee Chairs that you'll need and maybe a few key committee members.  

results of this corrupt system

  • Lobbyists paying leadership via campaign funds and PACS to pass their agendas.  Check out the MEC contribution reports for the HRCC (House Republican Campaign Committee).  This is the PAC where you'll see large donations from House members who somehow usually seem to end up in Committee Chair or leadership positions.  It's a very interesting phenomenon that happens pretty regularly.  You can also look up campaign committees of legislators and their PACS.  That's also a post for another day.  
  • Members seeking higher levels of leadership so they, too, can have that power.  They end up being just like the lobbyists.  They make contributions to those same funds and PACS so they can get things accomplished or have a higher position.
  • THE PEOPLE LOSE.  We lose our representation.  Our voices lose their power.
  • It is no longer a government BY the PEOPLE and FOR the PEOPLE.  It's by the lobby corp and for the greedy.

does it have to be this way?  no.

They can do whatever they want.  They can write the rules however they want.  Period.

has it always been this way?  no.

It has been for a long time and it's getting worse as time goes on because our reps don't even realize they don't have to give up their voices.  But no, it's hasn't always been this way.  Check out yesterday's post about the rules in 1869.

"jodi, those old rules don't apply today!"

I understand.  Not every line of the People's House Rules fits our situation now and even some of the details aren't perfect in my opinion, but the HEART & INTENT of those rules is what we need.  Badly.  And that's the point. However, I'd still much rather have the People's House Rules as they are written than HR 11 (the newly proposed rules) as it is written.  At the very least, the People's House Rules are a much better starting place than HR 11.

We CAN empower our representatives to do what they were elected to do in a fair & equal fashion. 

We CAN make it more difficult for special interest groups vs lining the pockets of big business and greedy politicians.

We CAN.  They CAN.   The real question is - will they?   

take action today!

1.  Submit testimony that you are in OPPOSITION to HR 11.    It's easy and online.  Just fill out the form.  In the comment section, you can simply write something as simple as "I do not want a top-down power structure in the Mo House."

2.  Attend the hearing.  1:00 pm Monday, 1/9/23 in House Hearing Room 3. 

3.  Call and/or email your representative and express your thoughts.  Look up your legislator and their contact info HERE.



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