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The GOP’s internal discord and a 50-hour Democratic filibuster have halted efforts to increase the difficulty of amending Missouri’s Constitution

The Missouri state Senate (Via Riley Jacks/Shutterstock)

GOP internal disagreements and a marathon 50-hour Democratic filibuster on Friday ended a Republican effort to make it tougher to amend Missouri’s constitution, aimed partly at countering an upcoming ballot initiative on abortion rights.

The GOP-controlled Senate adjourned Friday morning, well before the 6 p.m. deadline to pass legislation for the year, without advancing what had been a key priority for Republicans.

Senate Democrats had blocked all proceedings from Monday through half of Wednesday in protest, aiming to pressure Republicans into removing a ban on noncitizen voting from the proposed constitutional amendment. This ban was already prohibited under Missouri law.

Democrats argued that Republicans included this provision to sway voters to support limits on their own electoral influence.

“Republicans aimed to raise the bar for constitutional amendments,” Senate Democratic Minority Leader John Rizzo told reporters Friday. “We understand they have a strong majority, but we wouldn’t allow them to deceive the public.”

Speaker Dean Plocher holds a press conference (Via Riley Jacks/Shutterstock)

Unable to break the filibuster, the Republican sponsor of the bill ended the standoff on Wednesday by asking the House to pass a version without the noncitizen voting clause. However, the House declined to do so.

House Speaker Dean Plocher stated on Friday that without the noncitizen voting provision, the measure would be too weak to succeed if placed on the ballot.

Instead, the House on Friday approved another amendment to prohibit both ranked-choice voting and noncitizen voting, which will now be decided by voters this autumn.

Republicans also sought to present the proposed changes to the initiative petition process to voters in August, hoping they would approve a higher threshold for amending the constitution ahead of an anticipated vote on abortion rights in November.

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