Wasting Time - The Missourian: Opinion

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Wasting Time

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Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 5:30 pm

Missouri state Sen. John Lamping has filed a bill that would shorten the legislative session from 18 weeks to 12 to cut down on the “wasted time” that exists in every session.

If the bill cuts down on the pandering and silliness that have become the trademark of recent sessions then we are all for its passage.

The Joplin Globe was pitch perfect in a recent editorial when it noted “history-making moments have given way to histrionics in Jefferson City; statesmanship has given way to stunts.”

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are filing bills they know will not pass just to fire up their base. It’s a waste of time. Some of the bills are blatantly unconstitutional but that doesn’t matter when it’s tit for tat.

When a legislator from one party files a nonsensical bill, a lawmaker from the other party responds in kind.

Bills related to gun ownership are a prime example.

After gun-control bills were proposed by Democrats this session, a Republican legislator from St. Louis filed a bill that would make it a felony for other legislators to so much as introduce any type of gun-control legislation.

Likewise, Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a University City Democrat, filed a bill requiring parents to notify schools if they own guns. Even though the bill is going nowhere, it irked many pro-gun lawmakers who viewed it as an affront to the Second Amendment.

One of those legislators was State Sen. Brian Nieves who has vowed to “never give even one little inch on the subject of gun control.” Nieves filed a retaliatory bill that would ban schools from asking students whether their parents or guardians own guns.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it Chappelle-Nidal!

For good measure Nieves’ bill went further by including a provision that would restrict doctors from reporting gun ownership in medical records. But that didn’t sit well with Rob Schaaf, a fellow Republican senator and a physician from St. Joseph.

Schaaf called the provision in Nieves’ bill “outrageous.”

Schaaf’s view is that physicians should be able to write whatever they want in a medical record without any intrusion from the government.

Nieves’ bill isn’t going anywhere either but it will help him raise money among his base.

Maybe it is time to shorten the session.

/opinion