Word Of The Week: Sleazy
Glenn Koenen 14 May 2021
The week that was in Jefferson City – the final week of the 2021 legislative session – can be summed up in one word: Sleazy.
Let’s go chronologically…
On Thursday, May 13th, Governor Mike Parson ignored his oath – taken twice – to uphold the Constitution of the State of Missouri:
“Although I was never in support of MO HealthNet expansion, I always said that
I would uphold the ballot amendment if it passed,” Parson said. “However,
without a revenue source or funding authority from the General Assembly, we
are unable to proceed with the expansion at this time and must withdraw our
state plan amendments to ensure Missouri’s existing MO HealthNet
program remains solvent.”
Yes, His Accidency really, really, really wanted to follow the will of the people and enforce the Constitution, but, gosh darn, he just can’t do it.
Friday, May 14 – the last day of the legislative session the Missouri Senate’s minority leader threw in the towel four hours before closing time. No one objected because, well…
“It’s just a situation of broken promises throughout the session from
leadership in one way or another, and I think the Senate Democratic
Caucus is just done with that,” [Senator John] Rizzo [D – Jackson Co.]
told reporters after adjournment.
Rizzo slammed Republican leadership for being a “problem within
the entire Senate for the entire session.” He said they were in
disarray, throwing the minority party curveballs while being dishonest.
The curveballs included a move to restrict contraceptives paid for by Medicaid. That was a demand of the tyrannical head of the Conservative Caucus, Sen. Bob Onder [R –
St. Charles Mars]. Agreeing to that nonsense doomed the FRA, a tax on medical providers which yields a big chunk of the money to pay for the existing Medicaid program. Big as in billions of dollars which Washington won’t send to Missouri if our state doesn’t follow federal regulations. The Senate knew the consequences and still kissed Onder’s behind.
As the work day drew to a close, the Missouri House of Representatives suspended its Rule 44: “No House bill shall be taken up for consideration by the House unless it has been upon the calendar for at least one legislative day.”
In other words, no surprise legislation. The bill so honored offers blanket Covid liability protection to business – including nursing homes – which didn’t do all they could to protect their workers/customers/patients. It passed after about 13 minutes of “consideration” without the support of the gatekeeping committees (Fiscal Review, Rules and such).
You see, Missouri Republicans have supermajorities in the House and Senate and statewide offices. It would be too much to expect them to use their super powers for good. At least they honor their oaths of office and their word.
Of course, repeated bad behavior by the GOP carries no penalty in Missouri. The same voters who enacted Medicaid Expansion also maintained that super majority opposed to Medicaid Expansion.
This has been noticed. A couple of weeks ago I talked to folks in the advocacy realm based in Washington. For them and their colleagues, Missouri is “out of play.” They don’t expect our state to change.
Oh, the national GOP had a sleazy week too. Ask Rep. Liz Cheney.
Still, for the most flagrant and abundant sleaze, you have to come to Missouri.