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TWMP Column: Plocher vindicated/Senate budget filibuster begins

Plocher vindicated on 7-2 vote

Well, the House Ethics Committee probe into Speaker Plocher ended in the same manner that it began…a dumpster fire.

The committee voted 7-2 to completely dismiss the complaint filed by Rep. Chris Sander.

However, in keeping with the tone of this entire fiasco it wasn’t without drama.

The hearing started out with Chairwoman Kelly making a motion that included most of the now clearly baseless allegations that her previous motion included, which was voted down 6-2.

Rep. John Black who has quietly become the most reasonable man in the room made a motion to take Rep. Kelly’s motion and strike everything after dismiss.

At that point things went off the rails. In what would have been seen as amazingly bizarre behavior two months ago, but by last night was simply par for the course of the Jerry Springer Sho…. I mean the House Ethics Committee, Chairwoman Kelly started reading an email from a staff person attacking Plocher.

At that point, a point of order was raised that the House rules specifically ban sharing witness statements in open committees. Chairwoman Kelly then pretty well said that she was the chair and would be reading the email regardless and the point of order was not well taken.

Then Rep. Black made a motion to appeal the ruling of the chair to the full committee. Then Chairwoman Kelly kept attempting to restate his motion in a way that made her look the most like a victim.

When the vote finally came down it was again 7-2 that she could not violate the rules to read her latest attack on Plocher.

After that the vote was taken to amend the Chairwoman’s motion, which again passed 7-2. Then the vote to dismiss the entire thing, which ironically was now the Chairwoman’s motion, passed 7-2.

You might think that was it, but nope this is the House Ethics Committee. Chairwoman Kelly gave a short speech on how she was the victim here.

It was a proper ending for a ridiculous process.

You can watch the hearing here:

Questions coming out of this debacle:

  1. Who does House member’s staff work for?
  2. What happened to Rep. Robbie Sauls?
  3. If there is no way that the ethics committee can actually vindicate anyone then what the hell is it for?
  4. Can Plocher be smart and fight what must be an enormous urge to clean house and leave the staff issues for Patterson to figure out?
  5. Will the folks who called for Plocher’s resignation now speak up and say that maybe they spoke a little too quickly?
  6. Can Reps. Patterson and Riley come together and write some House rules and procedures that make it clear that the elected officials are in charge?
  7. No one could argue that the ethics process is broken. Is it a problem with a chair or the entire thing?
  8. Can Plocher use this to pivot forward as a fighter in his SOS race?

You can watch his first interview since his vindication here: TWMP Midweek update

Next steps for the house 

Going forward the house has already moved a good deal of legislation including a budget that is probably more of what the ultimate budget will become than most years.

They have IP reform back to the Senate with the ballot candy included, some triple stamp double secret probation of Planned Parenthood is already sent to the Governor, as well as an expansion of charter schools, and there are a handful of bills relatively clean they can pick up and pass that will be quality wins.

With this mess over then they can start passing a few bills for every member, pop some popcorn and watch the Senate implode.


Respect to House Floor Leader Jon Patterson. He voted no on the IP reform bill, but allowed it to pass the house. That takes a great deal of statesmanship. It reminded me of the time that then Senate Pro Tem Tom Dempsey allowed Right to Work to be PQ’d even though he was against it.

If this IP reform measure pushes the abortion measure to November, Patterson will look like the smartest man in the party.

Look, Patterson is the future of the party, and that future seems to have already begun.

Rep. Dirk Deaton, who will be the budget chair next year, made a move that was respectable. I really respected that when he wanted a project in Pineville he put that money in the budget and defended it like a man. It’s easy for someone in his position to slip that kind of stuff in at the end, respect to him for doing it the right way.

Senate grinds to a close 

The Senate finally tried to go to the FRA today. That resulted in a group led by Senator Eigel saying that even though the Planned Parenthood bill has been passed, they have to now pass IP reform in order to pass the budget.

Now this opens an interesting can of worms. The Democrats have let a clean IP reform bill go earlier in session, but have thrown down on the Clean Missouri-type version the Republicans want.

You probably need Democrat’s votes to pass the budget, so if you PQ them everything implodes, and if you just try to pass the FRA Senator Eigel is insinuating that session just ends here.