Jefferson City, MO — In response to the move by house democrats yesterday to remove Representative Penny Hubbard of her committee assignments after she cast the deciding 109th vote to place an emergency clause on an elections bill, Speaker of the House Tim Jones announced three new special standing committees on Urban Issues, Corrections, and Small Business.
Hubbard claims she was stripped of her committee assignments unfairly, and that Minority Floor Leader Jacob Hummel acted “unprofessionally” on the floor of the House Wednesday. As a result, Hubbard filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee claiming that Hummel was “intimidating” her. Hubbard told The Missouri Times that Hummel was “stalking” her in the halls of the Capitol. A few hours after filing her letter to the Ethics committee, she was informed of her removal from her committee positions.
“The speaker has the authority to establish special standing committees and these three new committees will be made up of the original members selected at the beginning of the session,” Chief of Staff to the Speaker, Tom Smith, said.
Sources confirm that the original committees will continue to be constituted, and Hubbard will lose her positions and the speaker will allow the minority leader to replace Hubbard with another Democrat, but will not refer legislation to these original committees, but will instead send legislation under their prevue to the standing committees.
“We are not going to stoop to that level with our members who voted against the bill. Each member has rights, and I do not believe that anyone should be silenced. We will make sure all members still have a voice for their constituents, including democrat members,” Smith said.
Several Republican lawmakers pointed to the inconsistency of punishing Hubbard, but not the other democrats who voted for the bill, including Representative Conway, who is the vice chairman of the elections committee.
“I really never thought this would be an issue that caused so much rancor,” Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith said. “We had a republican member who voted against the bill and the emergency clause but no one has considered sanctioning him. It is his right to vote how he sees fit, as it is every member’s.”
Hummel contends that this decision was not made based soley off of yesterday’s events.
“We have been stabbed in the back for the last time. Changing a vote after talking to a member of the leadership’s staff was going too far. This has been coming for a long time, and with our smaller caucus we have to have some rules to be effective,” Hummel said.
One member of the black caucus said they would be calling the democratic house leadership before the caucus to discuss the issue in further detail. The same member said Senator Jamilah Nasheed, Chair of the black caucus, intended to deliver remarks on the senate floor condemning the move by Hummel to “punish” Hubbard.
Two members of the democratic caucus, on the condition of anonymity, praised Hummel’s stand as something that was a long time in coming. When asked for an example of when the animosity began between Hubbard and the democratic caucus, which has now removed her, sources pointed to her vote to override the Governor’s veto of the redistricting map as an example.
Below is a copy of the letter Hubbard sent to the House ethics committee:
Collin Reischman is the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. To contact Collin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @CMReischman