Under the Dome – April 19

Under the Dome graphic with Missouri State Capitol Dome in background

Welcome back to Under the Dome, your weekly update on the goings-on of the Missouri state legislature.

Legislature finally gets around to passing some bills; both are stinkers

You’d think that a legislature that is controlled by a GOP supermajority would be getting lots done this session without pesky progressives to get in the way. You’d be wrong.

With less than a month before the end of the legislative session, Missouri electeds finally sent some legislation to the governor to sign. TL;DR: They won’t make Missouri better.

Gov. Mike Parson at the State of the State address. Photo by Jeff Roberson/Associated Press.

A political stunt disguised as a bill on Wednesday became the first bill sent this year to Gov. Mike Parson. The bill dedicated $2.2 million to support deployment of Missouri National Guard soldiers and State Highway Patrol troopers to Texas for border security.

And on Thursday, the legislature sent Parson an education funding bill, which will take support away from the 91% of Missouri kids who attend public schools. Described by one lawmaker as “poison,”  the bill will both expand vouchers, taking money from neighborhood schools, and will allow independent charter schools in Boone County.

Politicians protect corporations over people

Meanwhile, the legislature continues to discuss issues that directly hurt everyday Missourians. The Missouri House gave initial approval this week to a bill that could protect pesticide manufacturers from some cancer lawsuits.

The Missouri House chamber during a debate. Photo by Tim Bommel/Missouri House Communications.

Much of the debate focused on a specific pesticide manufacturer: Bayer, the company with U.S. headquarters in St. Louis that purchased Monsanto, the original manufacturer of RoundUp pesticide.

To date, the company has been embroiled in over 167,000 suits claiming that RoundUp is responsible for causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Some cases have been dismissed, but Bayer has also been forced to pay billions of dollars in restitution for others, according to the Associated Press.

Obstruction at the highest levels of leadership in legislature

Finally, bipartisan leaders this week condemned Dean Plocher, who holds the highest leadership position in the House. The speaker obstructed an investigation of his laundry list of scandals by pressuring witnesses and refusing to issue subpoenas, members of the House Ethics Committee said Monday.

Speaker Dean Plocher at the governor’s State of the State address. Photo by Jeff Roberson/Associated Press.

Some witnesses refused to speak out of fear Plocher would use his power as speaker to retaliate as he reportedly had before.

The attorney collecting evidence marveled at the terror among House staff: “I have not encountered more unwilling witnesses … in my career. The level of fear expressed by a number of the potential witnesses is a daunting factor in completing this investigation.”

That’s the week in politics brought to you by a supermajority that has turned its back on Missourians.