The Missouri Senate could debate this week whether to make it tougher to approve a vote of the people. The Missouri Freedom Caucus, a small faction of Republican lawmakers, spent the first month of the legislative session holding up business until their priorities pass through the chamber, namely changes to voter-approved initiative petitions.
Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, a prominent member of the caucus said after talking to Senate leadership, a bill is likely going to be debated on Tuesday.
“They indicated to me that the plan that they would like to see happen, at this point, is to go to the IP reform bill on Tuesday, first thing. Typically, Tuesdays are the best day to go to a bill that we know are going to take a little bit of time because there’s some opposition there and that’s okay. I think that every member of the Freedom Caucus is prepared to stay as long as it takes to get that done,” he said.
Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, said that changing the initiative petition process is the most important goal this year for the superminority of Republican members.
“We’re going to take a look and see what the plan is for Monday,” he said. “You know, IP reform to protect Missouri Constitution is very, very important to this state. It’s important that our elections aren’t bought by special out of state interests.”
Missouri Democrats are getting prepared for what could be a long week in the Senate. Democrats plan to stall voting on the bill if it comes to a debate, said Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence.
“We will be pushing back against IP vehemently, very much so,” said Rizzo. “I mean, you know, we are not for taking away people’s voice at the ballot box. The fact that that is, like I’ve said before, a top priority of the Republican Party when all these other issues are on the table, it shows you exactly what the Republican Party thinks of people voting.”
Under current law, it takes a simple majority to change the state constitution – that same simple majority is what led to recreational marijuana being legalized and the expansion of Medicaid healthcare for low-income people.
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