Debate on the quality of health care legislation in Washington gets boisterous and disruptive in the Missouri House as the body advances a constitutional amendment prohibiting anyone from being compelled to participate in any health care system.
The handler of HCS HJR 48, 50 & 57, Rep. Tim Jones (R-Eureka), told Rep. Vicki Englund (D-St. Louis) he feels strongly that the federal health care overhaul bill before Congress violates fundamental rights.
“It’s a civil rights issue, it’s a freedom and liberty issue. And this is an important issue,” Jones said to Englund during their debate. As Englund began to respond, applause erupted from members of the Tea Party Movement observing from the upper House galleries.
Majority Whip Brian Nieves (R-Washington), who was presiding over the House at the time, admonished those applauding, instructing them that outbursts aren’t allowed during House debate. Then, suddenly, Nieves stopped. He said afterward that he heard a House member use a derogatory term in referring to those in attendance. Nieves continued by discussing the rules of the House to those in the 4th floor galleries and reminding the “gentleman from Clay” that he wouldn’t tolerate derogatory comments toward guests.
It appeared Nieves was referring to Rep. Trent Skaggs (D-Kansas City), but he declined to identify who he was referring to when contacted after the debate.
As for Englund, she took the interruption in stride.
“While the people in the stands cannot applaud, I do applaud them for being here,” Englund said when debate resumed. “I applaud them for caring as much about this issue as every member on this floor does.”
After the interruption and other sharp debate, the resolution won tentative approval 113-40. It is a constitutional amendment. If approved by the legislature, it would go to a vote of the people.