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Senate Republicans ask for meeting to discuss power-sharing agreement

November 30, 2000
By: Lauren Shepherd
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Republican state Senate leaders have proposed a full Senate meeting to discuss an agreement to share control of the Senate with the Democrats during the next legislative session.

The party leaders on both sides of the aisle have held conference calls throughout the week proposing options for sharing power of the virtually tied Senate. With the resignation of three senators who were elected to a higher office, the Senate Republicans will have a 16-15 majority when the Senate convenes Jan. 3.

If voters do not make a party change in the three vacant seats up for special election Jan. 23, the Senate will be tied 17-17.

Republican Sen. Peter Kinder, the GOP candidate for President Pro Tem, said he made the offer to the Democrats to meet together to discuss ideas for an agreement.

"I proposed that we meet in a caucus of the whole Senate together, Kinder said. "I do not, as yet, have a response to that offer."

Kinder said he is now waiting to hear an answer from Democratic Sen. Edward Quick, the current President Pro Tem.

"The initial response from Senator Quick was cool," he said.

Quick was unavailable for immediate comment. The pro tem holds the Senate's most powerful position with power to appoint chairs of committees and assign bills to committee.

Although Kinder said he did not believe the details of the agreement could be "all hammmered out" in a full Senate meeting, he did say "we would have, what I think, would be a fruitful exchange of ideas."

He added that several ideas are already on the table including co-chairmanships and equal party representation on committees.

"The big issues have not been resolved yet," he said.

Kinder said he has proposed having the meeting as soon as next week.

Sen. David Klarich, R-Clayton, a participant in a Republican party conference call Wednesday, said the parties have "a long way to go" before a final agreement is reached.

"I saw a sign the other day that said 'due to an energy shortage, the light at the end of the tunnel has been temporarily shut off'," Klarich said. "My answer is that we just got into the tunnel and I don't see any light."

Sen. Joe Maxwell, D-Mexico, Sen. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, and Sen. Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, all resigned two weeks ago, giving the Republicans their one-seat majority for the first three weeks of the legislative session in January. Clay and Graves were elected to the Congress and Maxwell was elected as the state lieutenant governor.