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Missouri House endorses barring judges from ordering tax increases

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – A proposed constitutional amendment that would bar judges from imposing tax increases received first-round approval today in the Missouri House.

But Democrats are irate because their attempts to debate the issue were cut off by the Republican leadership.

The resolution barring tax hikes by judges was ordered perfected by House Speaker Pro-tem Bryan Pratt (R, Blue Springs), despite claims by Democrats that they were at the microphone ready to offer more amendments.

Minority Floor leader Paul LeVota (D, Independence) calls the move unfair.

"When you limit debate on such an integral issue of democracy, as far as people (having) access to the courthouse, and the Republican Party wants to block that off, it's really shameful," LeVota said.

State Representative Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield), the resolution's sponsor, says she didn't see anyone at a microphone attempting to offer amendments.

"It was kind of like everybody was asleep at the switch, and I know the amendments were out there, but it's like people were just asleep...listen, I've been at my microphone before when I've been overlooked, but it just sort of seemed like people weren't ready to go," Cunningham said.

Only one attempt had been made to amend the resolution before the amendment and debate period was cut off...it would have barred judges from "interfering in 2nd Amendment rights" to bear arms.

The amendment was ruled out of order for violating the single-subject clause.

The resolution barring judges from imposing tax hikes needs one more vote by the State House before going to the Senate.

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