House Republicans tout it as a move to demonstrate bi-partisanship in the chamber. Democrats concede it’s an unusual move, but question whether it truly reflects a changed attitude.
Some call it unprecedented. No one can recall the House Speaker allowing the Minority Leader to sponsor a major bill. But there was the number one House Democrat, Paul LeVota of Independence, sponsoring the bill to repeal a law raising the income taxes on out-of-state workers.
Republican leader Shannon Cooper of Clinton couldn’t resist teasing LeVota, "Gentleman, this is like a bi-partisan love fest today isn’t it?"
LeVota said he wouldn’t go that far. LeVota did thank Cooper for co-sponsoring the bill.
House Speaker Republican Rod Jetton says it’s an important move, "I think it’s good for our body to have both Democrats and Republicans sponsor bills, particularly something that’s philosophically neutral that we all can support and we know is good for our state."
Jetton chose LeVota, because the Kansas City area has been the most adversely affected by the law and because he’s the Democratic leader in the House. LeVota appreciates the gesture, but hopes it’s not an empty gesture.
"We’re going to be able to walk out of here today and say he did do a bi-partisan bill," LeVota told colleagues during floor debate, "Now, tomorrow, when we hit the budget, Insure Missouri, immigration, everything else, it may all fall apart."