Missouri's county central committees are being attacked by a bitter senator, Mike Cierpiot, who happens to be pretty angry that he had a primary opponent and ended up not being endorsed by his own committee. Frankly, I'm not at all sure what his problem is, because he won the race. But Joe Nicola sure did a great job and those constituents learned a lot of truth.
That, I think, might be Cierpiot's problem. Truth.
Cierpiot snuck in a 3rd candidate to split the opposing votes, which isn't really surprising. That strategy is used often and it definitely worked. Maybe Cierpiot didn't know, I guess. But considering the 3rd candidate (Rachl Aguirre) was talking, even sort of bragging about being good friends with Cierpiot and his wife, they've been seen out to dinner together and such...I'm pretty certain that it was a strategic move. But I digress.
The Bill, SB 16
Senator Cierpiot filed SB 16 which creates a weighted voting system for our central committees. It's a horrible system and in order to understand the implications you first need to know two things.
1. What's a central committee?
2. How does weighted voting work?
what's a central committee?
The Republican Party (GOP) is divided into several different committees. The Democrat Party has them, too. These committees actually ARE what make up the Republican and Democrat Party. These committees that make up each party are codified in Missouri statute. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have the same list of committees.
- State Committee
- Congressional Committee
- Judiciary Committee
- Senatorial Committee
- Legislative Committee
- County Central Committee
Each committee has different functions and contributions to our political system. For example, the county committees can write resolutions about specific issues which indicates their stance or opinion. The county committee generally endorses and financially supports the party candidate in the general election. They are supposed to remain neutral in the primaries, but they do have influence and can actually keep candidates from running on their party ticket. Frankly, I wish they'd do more of that with a pledge to the Republican Platform as the filter.
The county committees in question are actually elected positions. There's a good chance you didn't know that. If you haven't seen that on your primary ballot lately, it's because no one is filing to fill it or it's been filled and the seat holder continues to hold it until they are challenged on the ballot, which rarely happens. We'll talk more about that another day.
The county committees are made up of 1 man and 1 woman from each voting precinct or township. I.e., If your county has 10 voting precincts/townships then you have 20 central committee seats. That means YOU have a committee man and a committee woman on your county committee that is supposed to be representing you. If you don't know your committee people, please take time to reach out to your County Clerk and find out who they are.
Each county committee has its own set of bylaws. And it's interesting to note that the party itself via these bylaws can choose ANY process they want as far as how their committee functions, how they control their party ballot, etc. as long as nothing they do conflicts with Missouri statute.
Issues the county committee votes on:
- Candidates for special elections
- How they accept candidates onto their ballot (via bylaws)
- Amending the bylaws
- Fundraising events
- County seat replacements
- Other things that arise as necessary
The Chair & Vice-Chair of each county committee are automatically members of the higher level committees where they have a voice in higher level issues, including Presidential delegates and filling vacant seats in higher offices.
what's weighted voting?
Currently, the county committee votes are NOT weighted. Every committee person gets one vote. This means that every township/precinct has the same amount of representation - just like the senate. We like this system. It assures us that everyone is represented in an equal way regardless of the population of their voting precinct.
Cierpiot wants to weight the votes and worse than weighting the votes, he's created a ridiculous way to do it.
This means that every committee member would have a different number of votes and that amount would be determined according to the number of people who voted for the WINNER of the governor's or auditor's race in the last primary.
Here's a video that explains more about weighted voting. INTRODUCTION TO WEIGHTED VOTING.
example of cierpiot's weighting method
Numbers given are only for informational purposes and easy explanations.
This is a fictional example created based on Cierpiot's method of weighting in SB 16.
There are 6 townships in X County. 12 committee members.
Let's say Fitzpatrick got 1,000 votes total in the August 2022 primary broken down like this:
Township A - 100 = 10% of the 1,000
Township B - 300 = 30% of the 1,000
Township C - 200 = 20% of the 1,000
Township D - 50 = 5% of the 1,000
Township E - 100 = 10% of the 1,000
Township F - 250 = 25% of the 1,000
Weight Calculations. Based on Cierpiot's formula in SB 16. If I learn I'm incorrect, I will publish corrections but this is what we believe to be true. It's more than confusing so give me some grace if I'm wrong here. I've talked to several people and this is the best we can come up with following his language in the bill.
Township A 10 x 2 = 20 votes each member. (40 total votes for A)
Township B 30 x 2 = 60 votes each member. (120 total votes for B)
Township C 20 x 2 = 40 votes each member. (80 total votes for C)
Township D 5 x 2 = 10 votes each member. (20 total votes for D)
Township E 10 x 2 = 20 votes each member. (40 total votes for E)
Township F 25 x 2 = 50 votes each member. (100 total votes for F)
40 + 120 + 80 + 20 + 40 + 100 = 400 total votes
There would be 400 total committee votes every time the committee of 12 people vote on any issue other than county seat replacements.
In this example, both members from Township B & Township F are all that is needed for a majority of the 400 votes. That's a total of 4 individuals instead of 7, which would be required for majority if everyone got one vote each.
PLEASE NOTE: It is OFTEN the case that a husband and wife are the committee man & woman for their township!!
In this case, we end up with 4 dictators from 2 townships that control everything that happens on the committee. And it's based on votes for the winner of ONE executive level primary race. It's INSANITY.
Oh...but is it??
insanity or strategy?
If you were a power seeking politician, wouldn't you LOVE to have this much control over the committee, its bylaws, its endorsements, its selection for candidates?
Cierpiot isn't insane. He's actually very strategic and this is a great way to sneak tons of dictator type control in right under the rug hoping no one notices.
Creating a dictatorship on the committees would mean ...
- All you have to do is put the people in those seats you want.
- You'd never get censured or left behind in the endorsements.
- You could have them write bylaws any way they wanted
- Control who goes on the ballot & how that happens by way of bylaws
- Control who is on the ballot in special elections
- Control Control Control
- Zero grassroots candidates would have a chance which means your reputation wouldn't be tanked when those pesky opponents told the truth.
1. PLEASE PRAY this ends with the senate committee!! The public hearing is today. I'll be in attendance and I'll keep you posted. **UPDATE. They pulled the bill from the committee hearing. It will be heard in the future at an unknown time.
2. Please find out who your central committee members are (check with your county clerk) and then send them the link to this blog. They need to use their voices & power they have on their committee. The committee can pass a resolution to express their opposition to the bill. It's the most effective way to gain traction right now but we need to make sure our county committee members know what's happening.
3. Stay tuned. Your voice may be needed shortly!
amending the constitution needs to be more fair to rural missourians
Well…. Did YOU want the marijuana amendment to pass?
Chances are, if you live in any county outside of a metropolitan area, you did not. The map below, which is provided by Missouri First, shows exactly which Missouri counties were in favor of Amendment 3 which was on our November 2022 ballot. As you can see, only 16 voting districts approved.
So often, this is the case. The general population of the cities is enough to out vote the rural areas. You likely already know the big problem with this.
The cities are vastly different than the majority of Missouri. Those of us who live in the beautiful Missouri farmland or near our gorgeous cold, spring-fed rivers in the southern Missouri hills do NOT want to share the way of life of our city dwelling friends. Generally speeking, our needs are different and our values are different.
When it comes to changing our Missouri Constitution, the needs and voices of rural Missourians aren't being taken into account. The Concurrent Majority Ratification legislation will help us fix that.
vocabulary to understand
Initiative Petition (IP)
This is the process by which citizens are able to add measures onto our ballots on election day. The process is overseen by the Secretary of State and involves collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures to request the additional measure to the ballot. It’s a very expensive process and it’s not easy to accomplish. And that’s a good thing. We don’t need it to be easy BUT we also don’t want to completely remove the people's ability to make a change when necessary.
If you hear of IP Reform, it is referring to an effort to change the process of citizens being able to add an amendment to the ballot. Those who feel the Constitution is irrelevant these days would love for it to be easier. People who don’t want any changes to the Constitution would prefer it be much harder or near impossible for the people to be able to accomplish the passage of a constitutional amendment.
Citizens do need a way to change things if their elected officials aren’t representing the constituents well. It doesn’t need to be impossible but it does need to be very challenging and that is the case as it stands. If I were to update the IP process, I’d choose to make it even a little more difficult to do but I don’t believe this is the answer to our concerns.
There are a lot of initiative petitions that are filed each year and only a very few make it to the ballot. In 2022, there were 89 IP filings and only 50 were approved for circulation to collect signatures. Of those, only 1 actually made it onto the 2022 ballot and that was the the marijuana amendment. The other ballot measures arrived on the ballot via joint resolutions passed by legislature.
Concurrent Majority Ratification (CMR)
According to Webster, the definition of concurrent majority is, “a political majority created out of divergent interest groups and temporarily united by general agreement especially in protecting a minority right”
In this case, the divergent interest groups are the rural areas. Rural Missourians have a different interest than residents of our biggest cities. We need to protect rural Missourians' interests.
Specifically, we will be looking at the Missouri House Districts to do that because they are the smallest political subdivisions of Missouri voters.
Ratification is the official consent to the changing of the constitution.
Concurrent Majority Ratification means that it would take the popular vote AND the majority of House districts approval in order to officially change the Missouri Constitution.
The results of individual votes cast.
the american standard
The standard for creating public policy in America IS by way of concurrent majority.
- States vote to ratify amendments to the US Constitution. We don't change it by a national popular vote.
- The Electoral College. We don't elect the President by a national popular vote.
- We have 2 US Senators per state, regardless of population size.
- Members of the House of Representatives (both MO & US) represent geographic districts
- Our legislature consists of 2 chambers - House & Senate. Passing legislation requires a concurrent majority
In truth, amending the Missouri Constitution by way of a statewide popular vote is the exception not the rule. It causes a problem in that the cities of Missouri are able to control any ballot initiative and our rural citizens are disenfranchised. It needs to change.
current legislation to support
Each of these are Joint Resolutions. If passed by the legislature, they will not be added to statute. They become ballot measures brought before the people for a vote.
SJR 28 by Senator Jill Carter
SJR 33 by Senator Mike Moon
HJR 30 by Representative Ed Lewis
The key point in each of these three pieces of legislation is that in order to amend the Missouri Constitution, it would require more than 50% of the popular vote AND more than 50% of the vote in each Missouri House District.
If this had been the statute prior to our November 2022 election, the marijuana amendment would NOT have passed because although the popular vote was more than 50%, there were not nearly enough Missouri House districts that approved.
- Call and email your Representative &. Senator regarding this issue. Keep it respectful, short & sweet. Tell them you support the CONCURRENT MAJORITY RATIFICATION language in SJR 28, SJR 33 and HJR 30 and you are requesting they support these at any opportunity available to them.
- Watch for committee hearings and participate by attending or submitting testimony as often as possible. I'll keep you updated as to when & where those are happening. The first House hearing is Tuesday, 1/24 at Noon in House Hearing Room 6.
- Call and email committee members individually to express your support prior to any hearings.
- Share this information with your friends and family. If this legislation passes, it will then be added to the ballot and we need educated voters.
tools to help you take action
Don't know your legislators or their contact info? Legislator Lookup Tool
Legislator email addresses follow the following templates.
Senators - firstname.lastname@example.org
Representatives - email@example.com
Peggy McGaugh, Chair (R) 573.751.2917
Dan Stacy, Vice Chair (R) 573.751.8636
Joe Adams, Ranking Minority Leader (D). 573.751.4265
Brad Banderman (R). 573.751.0549
Donna Baringer (D). 573.751.4220
Tricia Byrnes (R). 573.751.1460
Jeff Coleman (R). 573.751.1487
Bill Falkner (R). 573.751.9755
Roger Reedy (R). 573.751.3971
Alex Riley (R) 573.751.2210
Adam Schwadron (R). 573.751.2949
David Tyson Smith (D). 573.751.9753
Justin Sparks (R). 573.751.0562
Cheri Toalson Reisch (R). 573.751.1169
Ken Waller (R) 573.751.4451
Kevin Windham (D). 573.751.4726
Eric Woods (D). 573.751.2199
Elaine Gannon, Chair (R). 573.751.4008
Sandy Crawford, Vice Chair (R). 573.751.8793
Jill Carter (R). 573.751.2173
Mary Elizabeth Coleman (R). 573.751.1492
Andrew Koenig (R). 573.751.5568
John Rizzo (D). 573.751.3074
Barbara Washington (D). 573.751.3158
House Committee Hearing
Tuesday, January 24, 2023 @ 12:00 Noon in House Hearing Room 6
Submit Written Testimony - Support HJR 30. Be sure to check your email and click to verify your submission.
I'm still shaking my head over the House floor debate on HR 11, the Rules of the House. If you haven't been keeping up with this topic please go back and read my first article on the topic.
I'm not sure what descriptive terms would fit best for the way I feel about how this process unfolded.
These are among my top picks.
On Wednesday during debate on the floor, Representative Peter Meredith (D), whom I have never found myself in agreement with, spoke my favorite words of the day in his opening speech for an amendment he was offering. I hope you'll take time to watch. I concur with his sentiments 100% and I'm thankful he had the nerve to stand and put them on the record.
It's amazing that every democrat seems to understand how the Rules and the consolidated power impact their ability to move legislation. The republicans, however, will discuss the power of the Speaker behind closed doors in agreement and yet they are filled with fear that disables them to take any action and make changes. And make no mistake - they do have the power to change it and change it they must if we want to see a legislature that truly represents the citizens of Missouri.
Please listen to Rep Meredith speak the truth.
The House Rules breed corruption. It's been going on FAR too long and it does not have to be this way. Our Founders never intended for our legislature to function as it does today. Rep Meredith and his democrat colleagues understand that.
republicans resolved to support the speaker regardless
It's not surprising that HR 11 passed. What was surprising was the COMPLETE lack of willingness to listen and consider the common sense amendments that the democrats and Rep. Mazzie Boyd were offering up. We saw this in the committee hearing as well. I'm ashamed to say that the Republicans just refused to even consider anything at all that was offered up by a democrat EVEN THOUGH it would have benefited the PEOPLE of Missouri.
For quite some time in the committee hearing, the Republicans sat silent - unwilling to even comment. The Chair would ask for discussion and..... crickets. No discussion was had until Rep Barry Hovis finally felt bad enough that he started trying to explain his opposition with every. single. amendment offered. Although he always opposed their offerings, at least he engaged in respectful conversation.
prioritize missouri citizens? sorry, but no.
Every vote in committee & on the House floor was completely divided by party lines. Not one Republican even voted for the amendment that would have required committees to hear Missouri resident's testimony BEFORE testimony from out-of-state witnesses!
NOT. ONE. Republican prioritized Missouri citizens over out-of-state witnesses! That particular amendment was offered by Rep Strickler (D), HA 6.
I was completely dumbfounded & so angry I could hardly breathe. Tell me...what MISSOURI legislator would not prioritize MISSOURIANS in a public hearing!?
but there was one...we hope she inspires the rest
There was only one Republican who offered up an amendment during floor debate that would be a step toward forcing the Speaker to share some power.
We love that freshmen Rep Mazzie Boyd had the courage to stand and file her amendment even though the entire party stood against her. That girl has got more cajones that 99% of the men in that chamber.
Not that we should be surprised. This 24 year old firecracker whose college graduation photo can still be found on her FaceBook page along with photos from her time spent working in Trump's Whitehouse, ran a race against a much older male incumbent and she won!
It's interesting to hear the comments on her amendment. Majority Floor Leader, Jon Patterson (R), actually explains one way the Speaker holds power through his ability to remove reps from committees or just form new committees altogether when things aren't going his way. Rep Tony Levasco (R) is usually a liberty loving guy but you'll hear in his comments even further evidence of the problems in the Rules of the House although he's speaking against Rep. Boyd's amendment, he actually proves again that the rules do need to change. And of course, Rep. Meredith speaks again in support sharing more truth.
liberty limelight awards
In honor of their bravery & courage in using their voices to stand for liberty and better representation of all Missourians on the House Floor, we are bestowing the first ever Liberty Limelight Awards on Representatives Peter Meredith & Mazzie Boyd.
Thank you, Representatives, for doing your jobs with diligence and intentionally standing strong for the PEOPLE of Missouri!! We appreciate your strength and commitment to liberty!
kudos for standing strong with your votes
Other reps who didn't just go along to get along with their votes on the final passage of HR 11 were Rep Chris Sander, Rep Cheri Toalson Reisch and Rep Herman Morse along the entire Democrat Caucus.
Please reach out to your own representative and express your feelings on their vote on HR 11. HR 11 Rollcall.pdf
We are hopeful that with more education and as Missouri citizens continue to participate and use their voices, we'll see more improvement on this issue in the future.
Preserving our liberty and keeping our Republic is paramount and a constant battle to be fought. I'm committed to the fight for the sake of my children and future generations.... and hope you'll join me!
I'm running short on time this morning, so I'll get back later with the details in case you'd like to know them.
We aren't going to get anything remotely close to what we actually really want as far as disempowering the Speaker and Majority Floor Leader. However, we are hoping to amend HR 11 so that it isn't as bad as originally written.
Specifically, we need Rep. Chris Sander's amendment to pass today.
Jon Patterson, the Majority Floor Leader and sponsor of HR 11, added an additional step in the process of a bill going from a standing committee to a rules committee. They put the power back in the hands of the speaker to hold a bill for 10 legislative days. That length of time is at least 2 and a half weeks which is significant enough to delay the process so that the bill doesn't have time to pass.
They also gave the Speaker power to choose which rules committee it goes to. There are 3. There's a total of about 30 representatives between 3 committees. If we don't know which rules committee the bill is going to, we have a MUCH less opportunity to reach the appropriate representatives that will actually see the bill.
A. The Speaker shouldn't solely get to choose which standing committee AND which rules committee the bill goes through. It should be an automatic process, as it has always been. ie, The Education Committee bills go to Rules Committee A. Always.
B. The Speaker shouldn't have the power to hold up a bill for 2 1/2 weeks, which is significant to the process.
Representative Chris Sander has filed an amendment that would help. His amendment says that the Speaker will work with the Bill Sponsor in deciding which rules committee the bill will go through. This is a crumb and likely won't make a tremendous difference as the Speaker will bully Sponsors into what they want anyway, but at least there would be another voice involved in the process.
use your voice
Please call your Representative!
1. Request a YES vote on Chris Sander's amendment. This one affords power to the Sponsor in choosing a rules committee vs the Speaker having sole authority.
2. Request a YES vote on Crossley's amendment. This one allows the committee members to vote on their Chair and Vice Chair vs the Speaker having the sole authority to appoint them. Crossley is a democrat.
3. Request a YES vote on Nurrenbern's amendment. This one puts limits on the Majority Floor Leader having control over representatives ability to speak. Nurrenbern is a democrat.
4. Request a YES vote on Strickler's amendment. This one allows Missouri resident's testimony to be heard before non-resident's in a public hearing.
Be short, to the point and respectful. Express the overall opinion that you want power spread among the representatives as much as possible vs the Speaker having total control. We want Republican reps to vote in a way to benefit ALL of Missouri REGARDLESS of the fact that the amendments are offered by democrats.
links for reference
Leadership roles in the missouri house
Speaker of the House - Dean Plocher
Majority Floor Leader - Jon Patterson
These two been voted into the top two House leadership roles for the 102nd Missouri General Assembly (MOGA). The 102nd session will extend from 2023 through the end of session in 2024. They'll have these positions two years.
The specifics on how they got voted in and what that process looked like is a story for another time, but suffice it to say that election machine glitches don't just happen in Arizona.
why the rules of the house are important
The bottom line is the Rules of the House dictate how a bill moves through the process of being passed. They literally change how a bill becomes law, who has authority and power at what points in the process, who gets to vote, who gets to speak and for how long, who allows reps to speak on issues, who chooses which bills go before a committee or even get to be voted on and so much more.
Yes, our Constitution says a bill will pass through the House, but the Rules of the House dictate how that happens and it's the representatives themselves who write the rules and vote to approve them at the beginning of each session.
If you didn't read the article from yesterday, check it out for more info.
top-down power means unequal representation of the people
The problem with the Rules of the House is that they have been top-down for far too long and it started way before Plocher. The Speaker of the House has entirely too much power and it wouldn't matter if my favorite rep had the position - it's still wrong.
The Majority Floor Leader, in this case we have Jon Patterson, also has a lot of power individually to allow bills to move forward or to stop them.
What happens is these two individuals regardless of who they are set the agenda for the entire House. They choose priorities and EVERYONE who has been around the capitol for any amount of time knows that what leadership wants - leadership gets.
A previous Speaker has even said something to the tune of it's pretty much a waste to even come to work if you aren't the Speaker.
This means YOU aren't truly being represented if your rep isn't in a leadership role!! Our rank & file members are nearly hog-tied as far as being able to accomplish anything at all.
So if the Speaker & Majority Floor Leader have all the power, how does your rep get anything done??
rank & file member success
Because of the current power structure, our "rank & file" House members have very little ability to get anything at all accomplished unless they can barter with the Speaker or attach something they want onto a bill they know leadership is pushing.
This is one reason we end up with "Kitchen Sink" bills that have so many things added to them that truly shouldn't be. Just like in DC, they pass huge omnibus bills that may have 15 horrendous things included but they all vote yes to get their one tiny little nugget of goodness (we hope) across the line.
a lobbyist's dream come true
This top down situation breeds corruption faster than Superman can fly home.
If you were a lobbyist, who would you be most concerned about wining & dining?
Whose campaign fund and PAC would you probably want to add to your contribution list?
If you were a lobbyist or even another politician, you'd be a fool to look at the members as equal. They aren't. You'd first fill the Speaker's "war chest" as much as possible, then add to the Majority Floor Leader's and whatever you have leftover from your budget would get spread among the Committee Chairs that you'll need and maybe a few key committee members.
results of this corrupt system
- Lobbyists paying leadership via campaign funds and PACS to pass their agendas. Check out the MEC contribution reports for the HRCC (House Republican Campaign Committee). This is the PAC where you'll see large donations from House members who somehow usually seem to end up in Committee Chair or leadership positions. It's a very interesting phenomenon that happens pretty regularly. You can also look up campaign committees of legislators and their PACS. That's also a post for another day.
- Members seeking higher levels of leadership so they, too, can have that power. They end up being just like the lobbyists. They make contributions to those same funds and PACS so they can get things accomplished or have a higher position.
- THE PEOPLE LOSE. We lose our representation. Our voices lose their power.
- It is no longer a government BY the PEOPLE and FOR the PEOPLE. It's by the lobby corp and for the greedy.
does it have to be this way? no.
They can do whatever they want. They can write the rules however they want. Period.
has it always been this way? no.
It has been for a long time and it's getting worse as time goes on because our reps don't even realize they don't have to give up their voices. But no, it's hasn't always been this way. Check out yesterday's post about the rules in 1869.
"jodi, those old rules don't apply today!"
I understand. Not every line of the People's House Rules fits our situation now and even some of the details aren't perfect in my opinion, but the HEART & INTENT of those rules is what we need. Badly. And that's the point. However, I'd still much rather have the People's House Rules as they are written than HR 11 (the newly proposed rules) as it is written. At the very least, the People's House Rules are a much better starting place than HR 11.
We CAN empower our representatives to do what they were elected to do in a fair & equal fashion.
We CAN make it more difficult for special interest groups vs lining the pockets of big business and greedy politicians.
We CAN. They CAN. The real question is - will they?
take action today!
1. Submit testimony that you are in OPPOSITION to HR 11. It's easy and online. Just fill out the form. In the comment section, you can simply write something as simple as "I do not want a top-down power structure in the Mo House."
2. Attend the hearing. 1:00 pm Monday, 1/9/23 in House Hearing Room 3.
3. Call and/or email your representative and express your thoughts. Look up your legislator and their contact info HERE.