Under the Dome – February 23

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.

Majority rule under threat as resolution stripping voters of rights moves to House

This week, the Missouri Senate moved forward legislation that would end majority rule in Missouri, taking away rights that Missourians have utilized for more than 100 years to keep legislators accountable and advance legislation favored by voters.

Thanks to a strong pushback by key legislators, Sen. Mary Elizabeth Coleman’s SJR74 was stripped of “ballot candy.” The resolution now moves to the House for debate, where extreme politicians are threatening to return “ballot candy,” a blatant admission of resorting to trickery to steamroll their permanent plans to take voters’ rights.

Coleman speaking about purposefully including “ballot candy” in SJR74 on the floor of the Missouri Senate, via Missouri Senate Communications video.

The resolution approved in the Senate would require what’s called a concurrent majority, meaning that in addition to passing the entire state, any constitutional ballot issue would also need to be approved by a majority vote in five of the state’s eight congressional districts. According to an analysis from the Missouri Independent, as few as 23% of voters – a majority in the four districts with the lowest number of voters in 2020 and 2022 – could defeat a statewide ballot measure.

The legislature continues to ignore public outcry to their plans to end majority rule, which has been overwhelming and bipartisan.

Progress MO is calling on Missourians from all parts of the state to urgently contact their legislators to demand that they vote no on these efforts to dismantle majority rule and seize their rights in Missouri.

Freedom Caucus members smear KC dad, spread fear and hate

Denton Loudermill and his family in their neighborhood, via family photo shared with the Kansas City Star.

This week also featured continued swamp creature behavior from the “Freedom” Caucus when members and the Caucus’s own social media channels were caught falsely accusing a KC dad of being a mass shooter and illegal immigrant.

Three Missouri lawmakers shared posts with a photo of a man that claimed him as one of the suspects in the mass shooting, which killed one person and injured more than 20 people. The post not only smeared an innocent man but also falsely fueled illegal immigration fears.

Asked for an apology, lawmakers instead doubled down. As reported in the Kansas City Star, Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville and chair of the hard-right Missouri Freedom Caucus, refused to apologize or even recognize that they did anything wrong.

“I’m not even commenting on that,” Brattin told the Kansas City Star. “That’s not even part of the discussion.”

When pressed, Brattin signaled that he didn’t think his false post was worth an apology.

“There’s nothing that I even see – even worth that,” he said. “So we’ve done nothing. And, you know, I have no comment.”

House Speaker under fire for yet another scandal

Finally, this week the St. Louis Post-Dispatch exposed that so-called “lifelong conservative” Dean Plocher doubled his office’s payroll in the past five years while embroiled in a series of ongoing scandals.

After firing two of his employees and watching as another resigned amid a midterm shake-up, the embattled House Speaker is overseeing an office payroll that could cost taxpayers double the amount it under then-Speaker Elijah Haahr in February 2020.

According to payroll records provided by the House human resources office, the annual payroll for the speaker’s office as of Feb. 1 was $746,427, compared to $495,832 in his maiden year as the leader of the Legislature’s lower chamber.