Wednesday was the first time since last week’s tumultuous end that Democrats allowed business to move forward. Senators debated a bill meant to increase disclosure and financial discipline by providing information statements for pension plan members and updating the pension plan delinquency statute.
Senate leader Ron Richard (R-Joplin) believes the stalling this week by Democrats on Senate business is easing, at least for now.
“It’s seems to be. It’s a little early to draw lines in the sand,” said Richard. “We don’t want to do that. We aren’t going to do that. I’m not going to do that.”
Tension has been high between Senate Democrats and Republicans since Republicans shut down a filibuster last week by Democrats on a measure involving those who oppose gay weddings. The proposal would ask voters if religious organizations and businesses should be protected if those entities decline to provide goods and services for same-sex marriages.
A procedural motion, known as the previous question, was used by Republicans to kill that filibuster and force a vote. The motion is considered controversial by those who serve in the Missouri Senate, where its members have traditionally been allowed to debate for as long as they want.
The resolution passed in the Senate and is headed to the House.
To add to the controversy, the way Republicans forced the vote is being questioned by Democrats and some Republicans. Affton Democrat Scott Sifton attempted to make a motion and was not recognized, which Democrat Jason Holsman says is a violation of Senate rules.
Likely to create stalling by Democrats again are a pair of measures that would require a photo ID to vote. Those are expected to come to the floor for debate later this session.
Supporters say an ID requirement would help ensure that fraud doesn’t occur in Missouri’s elections. Opponents say it would disenfranchise thousands of Missourians who don’t have such identification.
Senate Democrats have threatened another filibuster when that measure comes up on the floor.
The Legislature is on spring break and will resume on March 29.