Tuesday, April 22, 2008

filibuster fun

Pin It

I've learned a lot about my state government in the past few weeks. As is often the case with me, one search for information leads to many paths of inquiry. It all started with my interest in the Midwifery Bill that is currently in the Missouri Senate. I found that I could view the current text of the bill, and that I could get information about all of the senators, and lots of history. I then found out that I could view the Senate Journals online to know what all happened in any given session. I read about the rules of the senate, investigated terms, and grew in understanding of the process. Interesting stuff!

Then, oh yes, then, I found that I can hear live debate from the Senate floor. You would have thought it was Christmas. I've been tuning in to the debates for the past few weeks, hoping to catch the next time the midwifery bill was brought up. I've had fun getting to know the voices of the state senate, and to hear the humor, the camaraderie, and the antagonism that can be evident in passionate debate.

Finally this past Monday after 5 pm, I heard my bill called up - SB 1021. As I listened I became a little disappointed. To my inexperienced ear, it appears that Senator Chuck Graham of the 19th District (that would be Boone and Randolph counties, including the city of Columbia, home to my Alma Mater) was filibustering the bill. Although I don't have a transcript of the "debate" I recall Senator Loudon (sponsor of the bill) mentioning several times (trying to get a word in edgewise to in response to Senator Graham's comments) something to the effect of 'well, lets vote on it!' and Senator Graham responding, 'oh, we'll vote on lots of things!' and then continuing on his verbose way. I'm not sure how long the debate went on - I know when it rolled around to 6 pm, Loudon asked that the bill be placed back on the informal calendar (which essentially means that they set it aside for now.) We can only hope that there will be an opportunity in the few weeks left to get the bill on the floor and around Graham's annoying refusal to let the Senate decide for its self about midwifery in Missouri.

One positive thing today's filibuster did for me was send me on a quest for the longest filibuster by an individual on record - Strom Thurmond stood and spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes in 1957. Hopefully it won't come to waiting out Senator Graham for hours on end. But we should be prepared, and send him lots and lots of courtesy beverages.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...