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Rowden removes conservative state senators from committee assignments


Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden took action against a conservative faction of his Republican party Tuesday in a move he says is meant to ensure the legislative session is productive.

Rowden (R-Columbia) held a news conference before Tuesday's business to say that he had stripped four members of the Senate's Freedom Caucus of their committee assignments.

Members of the Freedom Caucus have filibustered legislation already this year just weeks into the session. The Republican infighting has led to early adjournments and deadlock on the Senate floor.

Rowden said he was removing Sens. Rick Brattin (R-Harrisonville), Bill Eigel (R-St. Charles), Sen. Andrew Koenig (R-St. Louis County) and Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) of their committee chair and vice-chair assignments.

"Missourians have demanded more of us," Rowden said in prepared remarks. "They have demanded progress, civility, and the passage of policies that will provide better schools, a stronger economy, and safer communities around this state.

"Instead, the Chaos Caucus has chosen to use the Missouri Senate as a place to try and salvage their languishing statewide campaigns and intentionally destroy the institution in an effort to claim the game is rigged against them. They are willing to kill important conservative priorities like IP reform, education reform, and banning China from owning our farmland, simply so they can continue to receive a paycheck from taxpayers."

Rowden labeled the members "swamp creatures" and compared them to children. He accused the senators of taking "marching orders from their puppet masters in Virginia.

The conservative senators shot back that Rowden was using his office to benefit his secretary of state campaign by punishing his primary opponents. The senators have held the floor for several weeks, claiming the rest of the Republican party doesn't want to pass conservative legislation.

The main piece of legislation the senators are filibustering for is initiative petition reform. There is a petition circulating currently to restore abortion access in Missouri. Republicans think it could pass under the current initiative petition law, but want to raise the amount of votes needed. Currently, a simple majority is all that's needed to pass a ballot question.

“Jefferson City is ruled by a uniparty cartel of special interests, RINOs, and Democrats, who band together to crush the voice of the people," Eigel said in a news release. "These are the same tactics The Swamp uses against President Trump. They can strip me of my chairmanship, they can kick me off committees, they can drag my name through the mud, but I am not backing down.

"They think this punishment will somehow deter me, but I am freer than I have ever been.  I don’t work for the swamp. I work for the people, and the people are tired of spineless RINOs. We will push forward until initiative petition reform crosses the finish line—I will not stand idly by and allow Missouri’s pro-life laws to be destroyed.”

“According to the Senate president pro tem, if I understand him correctly, it (the removal) was not due to any failing in my position,” Hoskins said in a Tuesday afternoon release. “It was due to my use of strategies and motions that are within the rules of the Senate, but are not part of the usual process. These methods were not used with any nefarious intent, but simply to move along policy that, in my opinion, has sat entangled in the bureaucracy for far too long. I cannot help but feel this action is an attempt to silence me for the policies I have supported and those I have opposed, both in the committee and on the Senate Floor.”

Article Topic Follows: Missouri Politics

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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