News & Updates

Current Issues in the Senate: Leadership vs. Conservative Caucus

by Mandie Hickenbottom-Conner

Tensions are high within the Missouri Senate as the seven members of the Conservative Caucus stand their ground against party leadership, the governor, and what many consider an “infestation” of RINOs within the state’s Republican Party.

Senators Mike Moon, Bob Onder, Bill Eigel, Denny Hoskins, Andrew Koenig, Rick Brattin, and Eric Burlison recently led the rally against Governor Parson’s new appointment for director of DHSS, Donald Kauerauf.

The citizens of Missouri seemed to echo the concerns of the Caucus, and public outcry led to Kauerauf’s resignation, much to the chagrin of Parson who alleged the Caucus members had ulterior motives for their actions including reelections for some and mere ego stroking for others.

Donald Kauerauf – Photo by: MO DHSS

The Caucus has also stood firmly for a new 7-1 congressional map as Missouri legislators consider the so-called “Pelosi” or 5-3 map of Representative Dan Shaul’s HB 2117, which the Caucus concludes will make it nearly impossible for Republicans to win Congressional seats, especially in future election cycles.

Maps by:

Moderates state that the conservative 7-1 map could degrade into a 4-4; and that a 6-2 map would be a safer bet. Caucus members and concerned conservative citizens disagree. This resulted in a filibuster by the Caucus in an attempt to bide time and sway the moderates to vote for a conservative map such as Nick Schroer’s example above.

Now, it seems that Senate leadership, led by President Pro Tem, Dave Schatz, and Majority Floor Leader, Caleb Rowden, are attempting to exert their authority over the Caucus by what many are calling an “act of retribution” for this staunch stance on the 7-1 map and consequent filibuster. This act included dismissing Caucus member, Mike Moon, from his Senate committee appointments over what Schatz states was “inappropriate dress code” worn by Moon.

Earlier, Moon had worn a pair of overalls, tie, and suit jacket in the Senate chamber and claims he researched his decision and found no written rule forbidding his clothing choice.

Moon’s dismissal letter signed by Senate President Pro Tem, Dave Schatz.
Senator Mike Moon wearing overalls in the MO Senate Chamber.

Furthermore, Moon’s recently proposed amendments to Lincoln Hough’s SB672 were both voted down along with an additional amendment to the same bill offered by fellow Caucus member, Denny Hoskins.

Moon’s amendments sought to protect women’s sports from being inundated by biological males and keep illegal immigrants from receiving higher education scholarships that could go to legal residents instead, respectively. Hoskins’ amendment concerned the banning of critical race theory from higher education establishments in Missouri.

 Since these amendments addressed current hot-button issues in the conservative arena, constituents are left to ponder whether Senate leadership influenced fellow Republicans to vote against them as a further act of retribution or if the concern that the Missouri legislature truly is overrun by RINOs is founded in truth.

Roll call votes for amendments to SB672 by Moon and Hoskins.