MO Bill Would Make Proposing Bills a Felony

Not all bills, of course, just ones that the sponsor doesn’t like. Rep. Mike Leara of Missouri has submitted a bill, HB 633, that would make it a felony for any legislator to propose any gun control measures in that state. Here’s the text of the bill:

Any member of the general assembly who proposes a piece of legislation that further restricts the right of an individual to bear arms, as set forth under the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States, shall be guilty of a class D felony.

There’s just one problem: This bill would be unconstitutional if passed. Which means this clueless dolt is demanding that it be a felony to propose what he views as an unconstitutional bill, but that bill itself is unconstitutional. Under both the Missouri and U.S. Constitutions, no legislator can be held criminally liable for “any Speech or Debate” that they engage in, and that includes bills they propose. This is a very important component of the separation of powers because, without it, the executive branch could intimidate legislators by threatening them with arrest.

17 comments on this post.
  1. Jordan Genso:

    He should just add a clause that it is a felony for a court to overturn the legislation. Problem solved.

  2. glodson:

    He should just add a clause that it is a felony for a court to overturn the legislation. Problem solved.

    But that clause would also be unconstitutional.

    It looks like it is felonies all the way down!

    Who said that the GOP is a bunch of authoritarian nut jobs? They’ll lock you up if you say that.

  3. Marcus Ranum:

    Didn’t Gaius Marius pass a bill where one of the items in the bill was that the other members of the senate had to swear to the gods to uphold the bill for eternity? Politicians haven’t changed much, have they?

  4. eric:

    Amend it to cover abortion regulation as well as firearm regulation, and then it will die the death it deserves.

  5. anubisprime:

    These muppets love power, but have not got a clue how it works!
    But they gamble that no one else does either.
    They tend to push their bigotry and hatreds onto the proposals…they all do it!
    And whine about how unconstitutional it all is and how all the liberals that voted against it hate jeebus, when they get slapped down!

    You can always lead a class A fool to power…but they never understand on what basis that power is given.

    They are a fucking disgrace to their own education really!

  6. holytape:

    How about changing the wording to, “Any time Mike Leara proposes a bill, he gets a stronge electric shock.”? As a constitutional literalist and originalist, I know that this bill woud be constitutional because the constitution does not specifically say that we should not shock Mike Leara, and that there is no indication that the founding fathers wanted us not to shock Mike Leara.

  7. a miasma of incandescent plasma:

    This is a very important component of the separation of powers because, without it, the executive branch could intimidate legislators by threatening them with arrest.

    That’s a feature not a bug for this proposal.

  8. holytape:

    I think that the biggest flaw for any system of government or any code of lawless is that it is simply impossible to make stupidity a crime.

  9. doublereed:

    This has an obvious solution.

    There needs to be a MO law that makes it a felony for legislators to propose a bill that makes it a felony for legislators who propose bills.

  10. oranje:

    So, one, he thinks the debate around the intent of the 2nd amendment is decided in his ideological favour (if you haven’t read Chris Rodda’s piece dismantling David Barton’s founders’ intentions discussion yet, it’s very well worth it), and two, he thinks Constitutional issues are what he decides them to be.

    Take that, Schoolhouse Rock!

  11. jnorris:

    holytape, your idea would be constitutional if shocking Mike Leara did not become a religion.

  12. shouldbeworking:

    I’m amazed that the fans of small government are making their roles larger by proposing so many laws to be enacted.

    PR or job security?

  13. abb3w:

    @0, Ed Brayton:

    Under both the Missouri and U.S. Constitutions, no legislator can be held criminally liable for “any Speech or Debate” that they engage in, and that includes bills they propose.

    Not by standard criminal proceedings, of arrest and prosecution by agency of the Executive branch, facing judgement by the Judiciary, of a law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Chief Executive (or re-passed over his Veto). However… under both constitutions, each House can regulate the conduct of its members. In theory, it would be within the scope of that authority to declare any such measure “disorderly conduct”, punishable by arrest by the house Sergeant-at-Arms and (if convicted by majority vote of said House) incarceration for the remainder of the term.

    This technicality does nothing to reduce the fundamental underlying danger the precedent of creating such a rule would present. By excluding via coercive force some measure from debate within the realm of political discourse, it removes any net incentive for measure proponents to engage in the realm of politics before moving debate to the realm of violence and the Final Argument of Kings (and other sovereigns).

    Fortunately, such a measure would also seem to fall afowl of the First Amendment as well, which would probably trump.

    @0, Ed Brayton:

    This is a very important component of the separation of powers because, without it, the executive branch could intimidate legislators by threatening them with arrest.

    …which also tends to lead to such shift of debate out of politics into continuation by other means.

  14. fastlane:

    MO lege is also proposing a bill to ban bicycles on roads within 2 miles of a bike path. Do the legislators have to fail an IQ test to get elected or something? Too much flouride in the water? Or, maybe the stupid coming from KS is contagious….

  15. Didaktylos:

    There is also, I believe, a long-standing Common Law principle that “No Parliament may bind its Successors”.

  16. MartyM:

    It’s embarrassing to live in MO these days. The sponsor of this bill doesn’t expect it to pass. He says he’s “making a statement” that he and his ilk are tired of the attacks on the 2nd amendment. There is a potential for a bill by Democrats to criminalize certain weapons and ammo clips.

    If only we could pass a bill that would criminalize attacks on reproductive rights and science education.

  17. rikitiki:

    If only someone would pass legislation saying that any legislator(s) writing a bill of known unconstitutionality
    (school-led prayer, for example) which then subsequently gets shot-down in court, said legislator(s) are
    liable for ALL court costs involved.

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