In separate votes Wednesday, 17 Republican lawmakers decided it was more important to support a positive future for Missouri than it was to blindly follow GOP political leaders.
And the 17 Republicans certainly don’t deserve to be smeared by fellow GOPers in Jefferson City or by angry Republican voters who already are crying for them to pay a political price for their principled stands.
• The Missouri House sustained Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a flawed, costly tax cut bill promoted by Republican leaders throughout the 2013 session.
Republican House Speaker Tim Jones vowed to get the 109 votes to override Nixon’s veto. He failed, badly.
The final vote was 94 in favor, 67 against. And these 15 Republicans voted “no” on the override.
Sue Entlicher, Bolivar; Paul Fitzwater, Potosi; Dennis Fowler, Advance; Lyndall Fraker, Marshfield; Elaine Gannon, De Soto; Kent Hampton, Malden; Jeffrey Messenger, Republic; Lynn Morris, Nixa; Donna Pfautsch, Harrisonville; Don Phillips, Kimberling City; Craig Redmon, Canton; Lyle Rowland, Cedarcreek; Mike Thomson, Maryville; Nathan Walker, Kirksville; and David Wood, Versailles.
• Late Wednesday, the Missouri Senate sustained Nixon’s veto of the “Second Amendment Freedom Act,” a Republican bill aimed at nullifying all federal gun laws in the state.
It was a clearly unconstitutional bill that had gained national attention for the sheer audacity of the Republican leaders’ attempts to undermine gun-control laws, hamstring police efforts to work with U.S. officials to enforce gun laws, and kowtow to the pro-gun crowd in Missouri.
The Missouri House earlier in the day had barely gained the 109 votes needed to override the veto, and shame on those members — mostly Republicans but a few Democrats, too — for doing so.
Senators then voted 22-12 for the veto override — but a vote shy of the 23 needed.
Among the 12 “nay” votes were two Republicans looking out for the best interests of the state: Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey of St. Charles and Majority Leader Ron Richard of Joplin Republican.
Both had wise reasons for sustaining the veto.
At one point Dempsey said he supported the Second Amendment, but also cherished the First Amendment, which the gun nullification bill would have trampled on by making it illegal to publish information about gun owners.
And Richard sagely noted that voting for a bill he and many other senators of both parties knew was patently unconstitutional was wrong, especially given its negative effect on law enforcement efforts around the state.
Good for these 17 Republicans, who looked out for the best interests of the state on Sept. 11, 2013.