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Ah, those little devils in the House, they do keep themselves busy. Wednesday, for example, they discussed at length whether or not to allow bingo 15 times a year instead of four and relieve churches of a small tax on each bingo card. Some Republicans were outraged at doing anything to expand gambling in our state. I’ve got my own reservations about gambling, but considering the hundreds of millions in moolah that casinos take in, to be shocked over giving bingo a break is akin to fretting about an ant wandering into a house that’s collapsing from termite damage.

It’s hardly surprising–typical, actually–that the floor was half to two-thirds full at any given time and that some of the reps were even listening to those speaking at the mikes.

Still in the category of irrelevant and still playing to the base, but with a whisper of “cruel and unusual” to my way of thinking, was the vote to imprison for ten to thirty years any sex offender who fails three times to register. Obligatory caveat: I’m not proposing to coddle sex offenders. But ten to thirty years? Aren’t some of the offenders guilty only of statutory rape (consensual sex with someone under 18), and don’t they face harassment once they’ve registered? Others are true predators. This bill bludgeons all of them with a ten to thirty year club.  

Moving from the irrelevant to the slightly more relevant, representatives voted in favor of making it an automatic felony to be found in possession of stolen explosives.

Moving from the slightly relevant to the less than wise, the House approved of conceal/carry on college campuses, expanding the Castle doctrine (it’s OK to use deadly force to defend your castle) and of lowering the age for a license to carry a concealed weapon from 23 to 21.

And then striding from less than wise to definitely damaging, the House perfected (love the irony of that term in this case) a bill to reduce the minimum wage for servers. One can still hope the Senate will put the kibosh to this idea, but our answer to much foolishness this year will be Nixon. RBH had the best line:

All Democrats against. Every Republican except one for. No word on if the House Republican caucus will up their tipping percentage if Jay Nixon accidentally signs this bill into law.

But the piece de resistance was endorsing a joint resolution for the 2010 ballot that would politicize our non-partisan court plan. Republicans failed to get more draconian legislation through the House last year, so they toned it down and slipped it through.

Supporters, including sponsor Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia, said the changes would give more power over the judicial process to the public through its elected representatives.

“I believe that citizens should be involved in the process, and right now they are an afterthought,” Cox said. He said the current process was an elitist system that assumed only a few Missourians qualified for a spot on the bench.

We don’t need no stinkin’ qualified judges selected through a plan so good that 34 other states have modeled theirs on it.

What a busy day.