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TWMP Column: IP back to conference 

Senator Mary Elizabeth Coleman is one of the most intriguing politicians of the term-limited era. Everything she does has a tinge of electricity that comes with anything she touches. It brings controversy, attention, and a lot of times brings out the worst and the best in folks around her.

She has had a long week, and where IP reform was concerned a long session, but no matter how she got there in the end she did the senatorial thing, the right thing for the chamber, the right thing for the state.

Now before someone starts calling her a modern-day Jay Wasson I’d suspect that she would have absolutely smeared the Senate with a PQ if she thought she could have gotten away with it. She said as much in a House hearing earlier this session.

I think it’s also fair to say that by Wednesday afternoon a few things were simply facts:

  1. There were at the most 16 to17 votes to pass a PQ motion.
  2. IP reform could easily pass and be sent to the ballot, if it was stripped down to only IP reform.
  3. The Democrats were going to hold the floor until the end of session unless the “ballot candy” was stripped off the SJR.
  4. Going to conference was the only way forward for the SJR.
  5. There is still an HJR they could strip down and pass.

In the end after all other options were thwarted by more senatorial senators she chose the chamber over herself. Knowing full well that there are folks who would seize on her show of stateswomanship to attack her, she put the Senate over herself.

Whether or not you like her, or her twitter account, or her pretty aggressive views on abortion, in the end she was a Senator.

Now, if were calling a spade a spade she tried like all hell not to be, and if it wasn’t for the backbone of one southeast Missourah senator who when he gives you his word he doesn’t bend this story is much different.

When the senators left the chamber last week after passing the budget and the FRA there were a lot of senators lauding Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo and swearing they would never ever PQ him the following week.

Well…..for most of them that lasted almost 35 hours when back in Jeff City.

I wrote my last column about where I felt that the PQ votes were.

You had Eigel Inc. with his 5. You had Moon and Carter for 7. Senator Ben Brown was all too eager to be Rep. Ben Brown for 8. Senator Rehder kinda surprised some by her willingness to be 9. I think its fair to say that Senator Coleman would have dusted off her Rep. pin to be 10.

After that you had Senator Luetkemeyer who put up a little resistance, but in the end was gonna fold for 11. Senator Crawford was touted by both camps as someone who was hesitant, but seems would have fallen in line for 12.

Then at some point Rep. Patterson might have been surprised to see Senator O’Laughlin go from Pro Tem in waiting to Speaker Designee and start whipping PQ votes from her would be House members.

If I had to guess Senators Trent, Black, and Fitzwater threw in. To his credit, it seems that Senator Fitzwater was working with some folks from Eigel Inc. efforting some sort of compromise for most of the week.

If those Reps. fell in line that would make 16.

Now you have 5 real senators who do not sign PQs. Senators Cierpiot, Hough, Justin Brown, Bernskoetter, and Senator RowdenSenator Eslinger is from southern Missourah and though several folks made a run at her she is made of stronger stuff than to vote for a PQ.

You also have Senator Gannon who broke her foot and is not in the capitol this week.

That left the Senator from the bootheel, SENATOR Jason Bean.

All the pressure came to bear on him. Leadership, other colleagues, the internet fools, hell even his own congressman called from Washington (as though anyone in Washington should be telling folks in Missourah how to govern) and he told them all that he gave his word.

Now your word means nothing in Washington and frankly about as much in the suburbs, but in the bootheel folks are different. SENATOR Jason Bean is different.

It was his finest hour. Senator Nelson TinninJudge SharpeSenator FosterJudge Mayer, and Senator Doug Libla would have been proud.

His father would have been proud of his son’s bootheel backbone. His son, SENATOR Jason Bean.

In the end there are a few reasons that IP reform could fail:

  1. The refusal of the pro-IP reformers to take a deal where they have to make the case for IP reform straight up with no distractions.
  2. Some of the folks banging the drum the loudest for IP reform don’t really want it to pass, they just want to attack the other Republicans they attack every day already and IP reform failing is just as good as anything else to attack them over.
  3. Senator John Rizzo’s personal integrity and statesmanship has risen to the level where it has impacted some Republican senators to become more statesman than partisan. He has truly become the most influential Senate Minority Leader since the legendary Senator Webster.

The lesson for folks should be that this August if you send broken pieces to serve under Senator O’Laughlin in these primaries, then don’t bitch to Senator O’Laughlin next February when the senate is broken.

However, if you send her senators, you should rightfully expect a functioning Senate.