KIRKSVILLE, Mo. — A second letter from one of the 15 Republican “no” votes on House Bill 253 has been sent out a letter this week that briefly discusses thoughts about House Speaker Tim Jones, but predominantly plans for a meeting this Friday with the 15 representatives.
The letter came from Rep. Lynn Morris, R-Nixa, and was addressed to the “Famous 15.” In it, he invites the representatives to an organizational meeting this Friday at his office, co-hosted by Rep. Jeff Messenger, R-Republic.
“We would like to share the positive and negative input that we have been receiving; we can share ideas on how to handle this situation,” Morris writes in the inter-office memo. “I am very confident that we will make this event a very positive vote before it is all over.”
Similar to an email sent out from Rep. Nate Walker, R-Kirksville, Morris also addressed the House Speaker and how the 15 representatives should consider discussing how to “work a deal” with the House leader in the future.
“For me, unless I get a personal apology and a handwritten statement to the media, I will not be able to forgive the Speaker at this time,” Morris says in the letter.
Morris writes that Speaker-Elect John Diehl, Grow Missouri Treasurer Aaron Willard and Shane Schoeller, Missouri Republican Party executive director, have also been invited to speak.
Willard says he definitely plans on attending the meeting. He says he has had “great conversations” with Morris about how to work together moving forward in “continuing the public discussion and continuing furthering tax reform in Missouri.”
“I was very encouraged by what he told me about the group and that they were going to talk about these issues,” he says, adding that while some of the members have received some criticism from other Republicans, these efforts show an indication of leadership efforts within the group to move forward on a new piece of legislation for next year.
Speaker-Elect John Diehl, R-Town & Country, says he will be participating in the meeting via telephone.
“These tough issues aren’t going to get solved by sound bites,” Diehl says. “They’re going to get solved by rolling up their sleeves.”
Rep. Morris and Speaker Jones were unable to be reached for comment. The story will be updated if a comment is received.
Ashley Jost is no longer with The Missouri Times. She worked as the executive editor for several months, and a reporter before that.