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Tempers flare as House Corrections committee abruptly canceled

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Rep. Andrew McDaniel abruptly adjourned his House Corrections and Public Institutions Committee Tuesday afternoon leaving some lawmakers confused. 

Saying the decision to end the hearing was “political,” the Republican chairman walked out of the hearing room amid protestations from Democratic lawmakers who serve on the committee without voting on any of the legislation. Nine bills were before the committee, and McDaniel had wanted to vote all, or at least some, out of committee. 

The problem? Lawmakers had not been notified beforehand that they would be voting on bills that same day. 

“Today’s actions by Rep. McDaniel are disheartening to say the least,” Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, the ranking minority member of the committee, told The Missouri Times. “Rep. McDaniel chose to play political games and put the citizens of our great state at risk by doing so. Rep. McDaniel’s decision to not have another Corrections and Public Institutions committee meeting until April shows that [he] is okay with ignoring the systemic issues that many in our state face who either are incarcerated or who rely on public infrastructure to better their lives.” 

Aldridge said he had hoped to add amendments to some of the bills before they were voted on. McDaniel threatened the committee would not meet again until April, and any bills members of the committee wanted to amend would not be heard until then.

McDaniel could not immediately be reached for comment. In a tweet, Aldridge called on House Speaker Rob Vescovo to remove McDaniel from the committee. 

Vescovo’s office did not respond to a request for comment. 

Among the legislation in the committee Tuesday was a bill that would provide feminine hygiene products to incarcerated women and another pertaining to complaints about psychologists.