The Missouri Senate will reconvene Tuesday to resume debate on redistricting. Republicans are battling one another over a 6-2 map vs. a 7-1 map. That would be six congressional districts currently held by Republicans and two by Democrats. Conservative Republicans prefer the 7-1 map because the say the current 6-2 ultimately weakens future races over the next decade putting a Republican majority of Missouri congressional seats at risk.
Conservatives across the state, including pro-life ad pro-family groups, say redistricting should reflect growth in the state’s more conservative areas and a 7-1 map should be approved. That map could see controversial Kansas City-area Rep. Emanuel Cleaver ousted in this year’s midterm elections as more conservative area’s are added to the Fifth District which encompasses most of Kansas City and Jackson County.
The effort to stop the 6-2 map being approved led to a Conservative Caucus of seven senators continuing their record-breaking filibuster on Saturday, and will likely continue through this week, as they hold out to win on having a congressional map of seven Republicans instead of just six. The Saturday session was the first in more than 25 years.
You might ask, “They are going through all this over just one more Republican seat in Congress?
That is what the issue is, but there is plenty of political tension below the surface that has pushed the conservatives to take this radical step of tying up the state legislature for a week.
Take, for example, the gas tax that Senate President Dave Schatz pushed through last year increased the fuel tax by 12.5 cents per gallon when it is finally phased in by 2025. Schatz’s private company, Schartz Underground LLC, stands to make millions from road construction resulting from the tax hike.
The Gateway Pundit reported last year that Schatz threatened to block all Republican legislation unless the gas tax was passed. He won out and Gov. Parson signed it into law.
That strong-arm against more conservative members of his party didn’t win Schatz any more friends. All 7 conservatives voted against the tax and six of the moderate Republicans. It passed the Senate by 21-13, with 11 Republicans joining 10 Democrats. But it doesn’t stop there.
Two bills last year passed out of the Senate Budget Committee: one to renew the Medicaid tax and another to block any government funding of Planned Parenthood. Eleven Republicans joined with the 10 Democrat to thwart the pro-life senators’ efforts in both cases. Both Schatz and Majority Leader Caleb Rowden said the bills were pro-life, even though Planned Parenthood funding was not banned.
Conservatives in both the House and Senate have been threatened by RINO leaders that none of their pieces of legislation will be considered for the session if they go against the wishes of the leaders.
Tempers flared on Thursday, when Sen. Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit, called a political consultant a “puppet master” because he worked to expand the conservative caucus. A newspaper account said that Cierpiot and conservative Sen. Bill Eigel had to be physically separated.
There were several other issues during the last few years where the conservative Republicans have parted ways with the RINOS, but like the phrase in the Declaration of Independence, after the long list of transgressions that the King of England had committed, “a Tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” You might say that the Missouri Senate conservatives have decided that the redistricting map is the hill they will die on, as part of their own fight for independence and freedom.
Bev Ehlen with Concerned Women of America, Missouri, is encouraging voters to contact by email or phone (below) the following Senators to express their opinion.