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A tooth infection briefly replaced a Columbia lawmaker on Tuesday

April 27, 2006
By: Ferdous Al-Faruque
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - A tooth infection briefly removed a Columbia lawmaker from the powerful House-Senate conference committee putting together the final legislative version of the state's budget.

Rep. Ed Robb, R-Columbia, said the problem developed Tuesday with an abcessed tooth that required immediate attention.

Robb is one of just five House members on a ten-member legislative panel negotating differences in the versions of the state's budget passed by the House and Senate.

"The alternative was some codine-laced pain pills or get back and have my dentist fix it," Robb said on Thursday, "and I opted for a three hour quick trip to Columbia (to my dentist) and back."

Robb's absence caused House Speaker Rod Jetton to temporarily remove Robb from the conference committee.

Jetton wrote a letter to the House Chief Clerk on Tuesday that Robb would be replaced by Rep. Steve Hobbs, R-Mexico.

The letter replacing Robb was published in Tuesday's House Journal. Immediately after that letter in the journal is another one from Jetton returning Robb back to the conference committee a few hours later.

Todd Abrajano, the House spokesperson, said "We have a constitutional responsibility to have a certain number of members on a committee."

Since Robb was gone while committee was in session, Abrajano said the speaker had to fill Robb's position.

As for Robb, the trip to his dentist was not a first choice.

"I would have prefered the conference committee to a partial root canal, I'll tell you that," reinstated Robb said right before running into a committee conference Thursday.