Monday, May 10, 2010

NRA Lobbyist Flips Nine Votes

Posted By on Mon, May 10, 2010 at 6:41 AM

What's the big deal about that NRA lobbyist attending the House GOP caucus and telling lawmakers how to vote?

oie_guninbar.jpg
To hear Speaker Kent Williams complain about it, you'd think he didn't know the NRA runs the legislature.

"I was shocked to go into the caucus meeting and have a lobbyist speak to us. ... I've never known that to happen before. ... We all knew already what the bill and the amendment did and I don't know that any information was needed. And there was nobody representing the other side. I don't want to knock the NRA, but if we're going to have a lobbyist from one side on any issue, for information purposes, maybe we ought to have someone from the other side."

The lobbyist, Heidi Keesling, succeeded in flipping nine votes on the guns-in-bars bill. Courtesy of the Commercial Appeal's Rick Locker, we learn that these lawmakers voted in committee to amend the bill to prohibit guns in bars—but not restaurants that serve alcohol—then suddenly changed their minds on the House floor after the caucus meeting.

These lawmakers obviously were confused in committee. That's dangerous to their reelection prospects. To eliminate any possibility of that in the future, they should let Keesling go on to the House floor and push the buttons on the voting machine.

Update: At the Commercial Appeal, they're so outraged they wrote an editorial about it. "Voters didn't elect lawmakers so that they can genuflect to lobbyists who threaten to yank endorsements and campaign funding if they don't vote the right way."

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