I'm still shaking my head over the House floor debate on HR 11, the Rules of the House. If you haven't been keeping up with this topic please go back and read my first article on the topic.
I'm not sure what descriptive terms would fit best for the way I feel about how this process unfolded.
These are among my top picks.
On Wednesday during debate on the floor, Representative Peter Meredith (D), whom I have never found myself in agreement with, spoke my favorite words of the day in his opening speech for an amendment he was offering. I hope you'll take time to watch. I concur with his sentiments 100% and I'm thankful he had the nerve to stand and put them on the record.
It's amazing that every democrat seems to understand how the Rules and the consolidated power impact their ability to move legislation. The republicans, however, will discuss the power of the Speaker behind closed doors in agreement and yet they are filled with fear that disables them to take any action and make changes. And make no mistake - they do have the power to change it and change it they must if we want to see a legislature that truly represents the citizens of Missouri.
Please listen to Rep Meredith speak the truth.
The House Rules breed corruption. It's been going on FAR too long and it does not have to be this way. Our Founders never intended for our legislature to function as it does today. Rep Meredith and his democrat colleagues understand that.
republicans resolved to support the speaker regardless
It's not surprising that HR 11 passed. What was surprising was the COMPLETE lack of willingness to listen and consider the common sense amendments that the democrats and Rep. Mazzie Boyd were offering up. We saw this in the committee hearing as well. I'm ashamed to say that the Republicans just refused to even consider anything at all that was offered up by a democrat EVEN THOUGH it would have benefited the PEOPLE of Missouri.
For quite some time in the committee hearing, the Republicans sat silent - unwilling to even comment. The Chair would ask for discussion and..... crickets. No discussion was had until Rep Barry Hovis finally felt bad enough that he started trying to explain his opposition with every. single. amendment offered. Although he always opposed their offerings, at least he engaged in respectful conversation.
prioritize missouri citizens? sorry, but no.
Every vote in committee & on the House floor was completely divided by party lines. Not one Republican even voted for the amendment that would have required committees to hear Missouri resident's testimony BEFORE testimony from out-of-state witnesses!
NOT. ONE. Republican prioritized Missouri citizens over out-of-state witnesses! That particular amendment was offered by Rep Strickler (D), HA 6.
I was completely dumbfounded & so angry I could hardly breathe. Tell me...what MISSOURI legislator would not prioritize MISSOURIANS in a public hearing!?
but there was one...we hope she inspires the rest
There was only one Republican who offered up an amendment during floor debate that would be a step toward forcing the Speaker to share some power.
We love that freshmen Rep Mazzie Boyd had the courage to stand and file her amendment even though the entire party stood against her. That girl has got more cajones that 99% of the men in that chamber.
Not that we should be surprised. This 24 year old firecracker whose college graduation photo can still be found on her FaceBook page along with photos from her time spent working in Trump's Whitehouse, ran a race against a much older male incumbent and she won!
It's interesting to hear the comments on her amendment. Majority Floor Leader, Jon Patterson (R), actually explains one way the Speaker holds power through his ability to remove reps from committees or just form new committees altogether when things aren't going his way. Rep Tony Levasco (R) is usually a liberty loving guy but you'll hear in his comments even further evidence of the problems in the Rules of the House although he's speaking against Rep. Boyd's amendment, he actually proves again that the rules do need to change. And of course, Rep. Meredith speaks again in support sharing more truth.
liberty limelight awards
In honor of their bravery & courage in using their voices to stand for liberty and better representation of all Missourians on the House Floor, we are bestowing the first ever Liberty Limelight Awards on Representatives Peter Meredith & Mazzie Boyd.
Thank you, Representatives, for doing your jobs with diligence and intentionally standing strong for the PEOPLE of Missouri!! We appreciate your strength and commitment to liberty!
kudos for standing strong with your votes
Other reps who didn't just go along to get along with their votes on the final passage of HR 11 were Rep Chris Sander, Rep Cheri Toalson Reisch and Rep Herman Morse along the entire Democrat Caucus.
Please reach out to your own representative and express your feelings on their vote on HR 11. HR 11 Rollcall.pdf
We are hopeful that with more education and as Missouri citizens continue to participate and use their voices, we'll see more improvement on this issue in the future.
Preserving our liberty and keeping our Republic is paramount and a constant battle to be fought. I'm committed to the fight for the sake of my children and future generations.... and hope you'll join me!
I'm running short on time this morning, so I'll get back later with the details in case you'd like to know them.
We aren't going to get anything remotely close to what we actually really want as far as disempowering the Speaker and Majority Floor Leader. However, we are hoping to amend HR 11 so that it isn't as bad as originally written.
Specifically, we need Rep. Chris Sander's amendment to pass today.
Jon Patterson, the Majority Floor Leader and sponsor of HR 11, added an additional step in the process of a bill going from a standing committee to a rules committee. They put the power back in the hands of the speaker to hold a bill for 10 legislative days. That length of time is at least 2 and a half weeks which is significant enough to delay the process so that the bill doesn't have time to pass.
They also gave the Speaker power to choose which rules committee it goes to. There are 3. There's a total of about 30 representatives between 3 committees. If we don't know which rules committee the bill is going to, we have a MUCH less opportunity to reach the appropriate representatives that will actually see the bill.
A. The Speaker shouldn't solely get to choose which standing committee AND which rules committee the bill goes through. It should be an automatic process, as it has always been. ie, The Education Committee bills go to Rules Committee A. Always.
B. The Speaker shouldn't have the power to hold up a bill for 2 1/2 weeks, which is significant to the process.
Representative Chris Sander has filed an amendment that would help. His amendment says that the Speaker will work with the Bill Sponsor in deciding which rules committee the bill will go through. This is a crumb and likely won't make a tremendous difference as the Speaker will bully Sponsors into what they want anyway, but at least there would be another voice involved in the process.
use your voice
Please call your Representative!
1. Request a YES vote on Chris Sander's amendment. This one affords power to the Sponsor in choosing a rules committee vs the Speaker having sole authority.
2. Request a YES vote on Crossley's amendment. This one allows the committee members to vote on their Chair and Vice Chair vs the Speaker having the sole authority to appoint them. Crossley is a democrat.
3. Request a YES vote on Nurrenbern's amendment. This one puts limits on the Majority Floor Leader having control over representatives ability to speak. Nurrenbern is a democrat.
4. Request a YES vote on Strickler's amendment. This one allows Missouri resident's testimony to be heard before non-resident's in a public hearing.
Be short, to the point and respectful. Express the overall opinion that you want power spread among the representatives as much as possible vs the Speaker having total control. We want Republican reps to vote in a way to benefit ALL of Missouri REGARDLESS of the fact that the amendments are offered by democrats.
links for reference
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.