It takes a lot of work and patience to kill a Village Law.
Rep. Jay Wasson (R-Nixa), who worked behind-the-scenes during the last week of the legislative session to guide the Village Law repeal through the House, gives credit to the other chamber for the success.
"Senate leadership giving us an opportunity for that filibuster to go awhile was a big key," Wasson tells reporters.
It was a big key for a number of reasons, with perhaps the biggest being that it signaled Senate leadership would call the bluff of House Speaker Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill). Jetton had worked strenuously to keep the repeal from passing. In allowing the filibuster to occur on Thursday, Senate leadership demonstrated its willingness to block other legislation until the Village Law repeal was decided.
Another key came earlier in the last week. Various maneuvers kept the bill carrying the bill from being solely about the repeal. SB 765 came out of the House with language strengthening a county’s ability to enforce regulations on strip joints when representatives found it too difficult to vote against that amendment and return the bill to its original intent.
That led to a contentious House Republican Caucus meeting in which opponents of the law released pent up emotions about Jetton’s role in getting the law passed last year and his strenuous efforts to block the repeal.
Wasson worried about fallout.
"There were some moments where I felt like, ‘Are we tearing the caucus apart?’," Wasson says he also worried about whether his efforts would block other legislation, "You always concern yourself with that."
Wasson served on the conference committee of Senators and Representatives that handled the House version of the bill. The committee removed the strip club language, returned the bill to its original form and sent it back to the Senate.
In the end, Wasson credits steady pressure applied by opponents of the law with breaking a logjam that threatened the entire session. Once the House approved the repeal on the last day of the session, the floodgates opened for major legislation to win approval.