Monday, June 11, 2007

If you are against "English Only" you are the "lunatic fringe"

Ever wonder where Democrats fit into the picture with Republicans in Jefferson City. Well, as detailed in the article below and according to the Republican leadership in the house, we are the "lunatic fringe."

"English only" is a manufactured wedge issue designed to get people distracted from fixing our health care system or working on reducing higher education costs. Has anyone seen a City Council conduct the hearings in Spanish, French or German in Missouri? Rep. Nieves, the Majority Whip, allows his ego to take over and he takes SOLE credit for 1) pushing English only through BOTH the house and the senate and for 2) stopping an apology for slavery. Rep. Nieves - who is elected by his fellow Republicans to this leadership post so we can safely assume he speaks for his fellow Republicans - says if you disagree on English only you are similar to the Russians at the height of the Cold War and a member of the "lunatic fringe."

Well, sign me up (for the fringe part, not the Russian part). I believe that our Missouri Constitution is a sacred document. It spells out our beliefs. Discrimination is not a core belief. All across Missouri people speak many languages. It's that whole melting pot, Statute of Liberty, thing. We should not willy, nilly amend our Constitution to reflect the beliefs of Rep. Nieves - a person who compares those who disagree with him to war enemies or lunatics. As to apologies for slavery - SLAVERY WAS WRONG!! I learned growing up in the First Baptist Church that you say sorry when you have done something wrong. I tell my kids that all the time. Saying you are sorry is not about payments, its about fessing up and moving on.

Rep. Nieves predicts he will win the Speaker of the House race in the near future. How about let's send some more Democrats to Jefferson City and take back the majority to keep Nieves from spreading his intelligence around anymore than he already has?

Rep. Nieves Takes Credit for Decisions in 2006-07 Session

By Gregg Jones
Union Missourian Editor

State Rep. Brian Nieves takes sole credit for what he considers two major issues that state legislators faced last session.

He claims those issues — English as the official language resolution and an apology for slavery — would have a different outcome if he were not in office as a leader in the House.

“This is the first year that I can say ‘Me, Myself and I’ got a few things done that wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t there,” Nieves boasted.

Nieves sponsored a resolution to ensure government decisions throughout the state will be made in no language other than English. He said the question to make English the official language now will appear before voters in November 2008.

“Now we are going to have the opportunity to amend the Constitution to have English as the official language,” he said.

“Anywhere you go, or anyone you talk to, there is overwhelming support (of making English the official language),” he said.
Nieves said that 80-90 percent of Missourians believe that English should be the “official language” of the state. He calls those who feel differently the “lunatic fringe.”

Nieves noted that he has been working on a bill since he was first elected to the House in 2002. He said the bill is inspired by a town in Texas where Spanish is used during government proceedings and there is nothing in the Missouri Constitution that would ban such a practice.

Nieves said each year he sponsored the bill it was passed by the House but it died in the Senate. This past legislative session, the resolution passed 30 minutes before the session closed for the year.
Nieves said there was opposition from three Democrat senators who filibustered the bill.

He said he negotiated with the senators to try and “shut down” the filibuster, as well as the Republican leadership in the Senate to begin a parliamentary procedure to override the filibuster.
Nieves said he convinced one senator to “stand down” which prompted the Senate leadership to override the filibuster. That move allowed the Senate to vote, and pass, the resolution at 5:30 p.m. the final day of session.

He added that the parliamentary procedure may have opened the door for similar actions in the future. He compared the situation to Cold War America and Soviet Union.
He said the minority party can filibuster, which he compared to nuclear capability.

“There were a handful of Democrats who filibustered for the purpose of being obstructionists,” he said.
In turn the majority party has the option of a preliminary procedure to override the filibuster.

“They both have the nuclear option and basically what they (majority party) are doing is saying they are willing to go nuclear,” said Nieves.

He said that move by the Senate Republican leaders will give a chance for Missouri voters to decide the English language resolution.

“This is my baby — it is the first thing I have taken exclusive credit for in five years,” Nieves said.

No Apology

Nieves also said he is responsible for overturning a possible official state apology for slavery.

He said Speaker of the House Rod Jetton co-sponsored the bill that was on the fast track through the House. When Nieves learned of the bill, he went “head to head” with Jetton.

Nieves said an apology for slavery could lead to the state paying reparations to descendants of slaves.

“It legally opens the door for reparations,” he said. “I’m not having any part of that — it’s symbolism over substance but it opens the door for reparations.”

Nieves added that he has been asked if he is “prejudiced” because of his opposition to the apology.

“If we are going to do an overall apology to every race, creed or color we’ve done wrong, I’m probably for that,” he said. “But to single out one — I’m not for that.”

Session as a Whole

Nieves said the 2006-07 session “in general was good.” He said legislators passed an abortion bill, a correction to the second amendment and “cut back” on taxes on Social Security and taxes for retired teachers.

He said taxes on Social Security is “black and white a double taxation.”

“We did a lot of tax cuts on retirees to have more of their own dollars,” said Nieves.

He added that in the House, there was little bickering between the Republican and Democratic parties.

“It seemed like the Democrats and Republicans got along. We moved a lot of Democratic legislation,” he said. The fight this year was between the House and Senate.”

New Leadership Role?

Nieves, who is the Majority Whip — the fourth-highest leadership seat in the House, said he anticipates the No. 2 seat (speaker pro tem) to be open within a year. He said he will run for that seat and will “likely win.”

“I think it is good for people around here to know that,” he said. “The higher in the pecking order you are the more you can do. If I’ve got to be up there anyway I’ll be as effective as I can — I think I’ll move into that position within the next year.”


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