Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pratt Calls Voice Vote on Court Bill

HRJ 41 is a bill that would limit the power of the Missouri Supreme Court to hear certain types of cases. The official description is it "Proposes a constitutional amendment prohibiting state courts from levying or imposing new or increased taxes, licenses, or fees without legislative or voter approval."

The sponsor - Rep. Jane Cunningham - says it is to prevent courts from questioning the funding for schools. No one can point to a Missouri court that has attempted it, but you can never be too safe. No court has ever ordered that all trees be cut down, let's amend the constitution for that too!!

In presiding over the House, Representative and Speaker Pro Tem Bryan Pratt from Blue Springs and a lawyer at Shook Hardy & Bacon, used the highly unusual move of calling a voice vote to end amendments to the bill. According to the St. Louis Post, at least ten Democrats were standing up to add amendments, including one protecting the Second Amendment, per Rep. John Burnett. Rep. Pratt's hearing is so darn good that he could hear the very slim majority of his party crying out. Nothing like democracy in action - you think they teach strong arm tactics in civics class in Blue Springs?

Pratt is safe in his state representative seat until he is term limited out. The rub between him and some in the legal profession (including his own firm) comes when he is done and runs for Sen. Matt Bartle's seat. Pratt didn't vote for pay raises for judges (after they have been stagnant for ten years). He's helping push the amendment of the constitution to limit the power of the Supreme Court to even review tax cases. His former managing partner at Shook is in Jefferson City lobbying one way, Rep. Pratt goes the other.

Throw into the mix that Pratt's fellow Shook lawyer - Rep. Brian Yates - is much more aligned with Matt Bartle & Jeff Roe. Yates has made it clear that he wants Bartle’s seat, too. It’s going to be an interesting primary for this Senate seat and the halls of Shook Hardy & Bacon.

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