Partisan tension is building in the state senate on a couple of major issues and majority Republicans are trying to decide whether to take a step that could be costly.
A right-to-life bill and the Governor’s MOHELA package have triggered filibusters from Democrats, keeping either issue from coming to a vote. Some Republicans are tired of what they see as calculated, organized, partisan opposition and they want to shut up the Democrats by shutting off debate and going to immediate votes.
Majority leader Charlie Shields of St. Joseph says Republicans are not going to let Democrats keep Republican priority bills from passing. He says "the folks on the other side" know Republicans are serious about getting their bills passed. He says they also know Democrats could use a parliamentary move called "moving the previous question" to go to the immediate vote.
The "folks on the other side" are Democrats led by Senator Maida Coleman of St. Louis who says Democrats are not going to support Republican bills if Republicans don’t let Democrats have a seat at the bargaining table. She’s says it’s unfortunate when the legislature plays politics instead of working on behalf of all of the people.
Shields and Republicans know there are risks to shutting off the Democrats who could then slow down a lot of things in remaining weeks of the session and bring pressure from Republican-allied special interests to get their bills passed right away, too.
Seven weeks are left in this session.