I saw the President of Missouri Right to Life at Mass this morning and she informed me that HJR 11, the resolution to put a cloning ban on the Missouri ballot in ’08, passed out of committee, where it has been stuck for a number of weeks. Honestly I did not think there was much hope for that to happen at all.
The committee votes were split 5-5 and Rep. Jim Lembke, who sponsors the resolution, rececntly started collecting signatures on a discharge petition – a “nuclear option” if you will – to bypass a vote (not to mention leadership) to get it out of committee. It has been moving very slowly and last I heard they were only up to roughly 20-30 signatures, when they need 55. So yesterday Rep. Wayne Cooper, chairman of the Health Care Policy Committee, and a co-sponsor of the resolution, seized the opportunity to get the bill passed when he noticed that one of the committee members – a Democrat opponent of the measure – was not present for the executive session. I must admit that I was shocked to hear this because this is something that takes a little guts and a strong commitment to the cause you are trying to advance. Pardon me if I have been a little skeptical of the level of commitment among some of our legislators to this particular issue. This is never a popular way to go about moving legislation, but it is certainly legitimate and an option that members on all sides of the issues take advantage of when faced similar dilemmas. This is the game of politics.
Now the resolution goes to the Rules committee where it will hopefully move to the House floor. Then, if it passes in the House it will go to the Senate where we could have the biggest problem. Some Democrats have already vowed to filibuster it – most notably Sen. Chuck Graham, who is in a wheelchair because of a spinal cord injury he received in a car accident a number of years ago. He is a staunch advocate for embryo destructive research.