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Missouri Rule Change Would Allow Senators to Challenge Each Other to a Duel

Abstract depiction duel.

In a strange move that harkens back to a bygone era, Missouri Senator Nick Schroer has proposed a rule change that would permit state senators to resolve disputes through an unconventional method: dueling. This motion, presented in the Missouri Senate, suggests a return to an archaic form of settling grievances, stirring considerable discussion and controversy, according to Newsweek.

Senator Schroer’s amendment, shared online by Missouri Senate Democrats, outlines the conditions under which a duel may be initiated. According to the proposal, if a senator feels their honor has been irreparably damaged by another senator, they can seek satisfaction by challenging them to a duel. The duel’s specifics, including the choice of weapons and terms, would be negotiated by the involved senators and enforced by their chosen representatives, known as seconds. This dramatic confrontation would take place within the Senate chamber at high noon.

Jamey Murphy, Schroer’s chief of staff, clarified the senator’s intentions to Newsweek. While the proposal of a duel might be metaphorical, its underlying message is serious, aiming to foster respect and remind senators of the consequences of their words in debate. The suggestion comes amidst ongoing tensions within the Missouri Senate. Recently, Caleb Rowden, the Senate leader, removed members of the Missouri Freedom Caucus from committee chairmanships, indicating a deepening rift within the Republican faction.

The Freedom Caucus, known for its conservative stance, has been vocal in its opposition to the Senate’s pace in addressing certain legislative matters. They notably filibustered for over eight hours last week, protesting the slow progress on proposed changes to Missouri’s constitution amendment procedures. Despite these tensions, Senator Schroer, a caucus member, retained his committee position. The caucus also advocates for budget cuts and alterations to education funding, including a program for private school scholarships.

Senate leader Rowden expressed disappointment over the current legislative session, deeming it an “embarrassment.” He criticized the disruption caused by a faction within the Senate, comparing their behavior to that of children rather than statesmen. Sen. Jason Bean, echoing these sentiments, lamented the lack of traditional respect and integrity, accusing the Freedom Caucus of using the Senate floor for personal interests and political posturing.

However, Schroer, in a conversation with The Kansas City Star, defended the Republican Party’s approach, emphasizing its commitment to finding collaborative solutions and bridging divides. He refuted claims of authoritarianism within the party and underscored the Freedom Caucus’s dedication to good-faith negotiations.

The proposed rule change, while unlikely to lead to actual duels, reflects a dramatic attempt to address internal conflicts and restore a sense of decorum and respect within the Missouri Senate. It underscores the ongoing struggle to balance tradition, respect, and effective governance in a politically charged environment.