A week of confrontation in the State Senate has come an end with the Senate Leader looking ahead to getting a number of legislative wishes accomplished in the remaining five weeks of the legislative sesssion.
The main thrust of the conversation centered on the huge economic development bill ( SB 45 & HB 191 ) that contains an expansion of the Quality Jobs program. Senator Jason Crowell (R-Cape Girardeau) has been filibustering the legislation, refusing to allow it to come to a vote.
Senate President Pro Tem Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) hopes an agreement can be reached to allow the bill to move forward. There is talk the Senate might employ a rarely used procedure known as moving the previous question – the PQ – to end the filibuster and force a vote. But Shields doesn’t see that happening.
“Obviously, this chamber has used the previous question in the past,” said Shields. “I don’t knowe that we are anywhere near that point, and frankly I don’t if there would be 18 votes to PQ on this.”
Shields defends a Senator’s right to debate legislation.
“I’ll defend Senator Crowell’s ability to make his statements known,” said Shields. “And to fight for his positions.”
As for whether Crowell’s stalling becomes disruptive, Shields says there are remedies.
“The Senate, as a whole will figure out how to deal with that, whether it’s making it more difficult to pass legislation that he feels strongly about or ultimately using the tools if it comes to the level of a previous question which I don’t think we’re there yet.”
With time running out in the 2009 session, another effort will be made – perhaps as early as next week – to come up with language that will be acceptable to most Senators.