Senator Ed Emery’s Legislative Report for March 10, 2017

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Policy and Politics

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”  The Apostle Paul to the Romans

The Senate picked up the pace this week and began moving through the perfection calendar. We passed six Senate bills and spent several hours on a House Bill – HB 130 – which was moved to the informal calendar. Commonly called the “Uber Bill,” it is awaiting more floor debate, the hostage of a Senate filibuster.

Some bills were more significant than others, including SB 34 sponsored by Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville. Senator Cunningham has been working on SB 34 for at least two years to address the sometimes deadly threat of “illegal reentry.” The bill would make it a crime (illegal reentry) if an illegal alien has been removed from the United States due to the violation of certain violent federal crimes and thereafter enters the state of Missouri and commits another violent felony offense. Illegal reentry would be punishable as a Class C felony.

Last year, an illegal immigrant went on a multi-state shooting spree from Kansas to Missouri. A Missourian was killed as a result. The suspect had been deported, but he was still here in the United States. He had also been previously arrested twice in Missouri. Criminal charges were filed in one of those cases. If the federal government cannot stop suspects like him from reentering the country, at least we can have some control over what happens in our own state. This measure serves as protection for Missourians from illegal aliens who come to the state to cause harm.

The Senate spent several hours on Wednesday and additional hours on Thursday on HB 130 which was mentioned above. I believe the bill’s detractors are beyond the policy perfection part of debate and fully into filibuster mode. If you listened to the nature of several hours of the discussions, you would almost certainly agree. I am not a part of the filibuster, and have no official knowledge of its purpose, but reports suggest that its objective has little to do with the content of HB 130 and more to do with putting political pressure on legislative leadership toward unrelated objectives.

I am certainly not condemning this filibuster, sometimes an issue or policy seems important enough to one or more senators to stop a bill in order to influence something unrelated. That seems to be the case. A filibuster, to be more than just obstructionism, will normally have one of two purposes – either to force compromise regarding policy, or to compel leadership to compromise priorities. Normally, once demands are satisfied, normal debate resumes, a bill is perfected, and the senate moves on; clearly that end is not yet achieved. I am still not sure who is pressuring whom, but in politics, even in dispute, it is important to not let conflicts become personal. I hope, by God’s grace, we all take the Apostle Paul’s counsel to heart.

Thank you for reading this legislative report. You can contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions. Thank you and we welcome your prayers for the proper application of state government.