Missing in action

Seven members of the state senate missed the final vote on the Ford bill last week. Five of them had participated in the debate but did not vote when the 20-hour filibuster abruptly ended and the vote was taken. Some had left the Capitol to go back to their motel or their apartment to rest or to shower and couldn’t get back to the Capitol in time for the vote.

The bill passed 20-7. It needed 18 favorable votes so the absence of the five who had taken part in the debate earlier would not have changed the outcome.

Two senators never showed up for the special session. One of the senators who was not in Jefferson City for any of the special session is retiring from public life. The other is running for another office. The second one says he did not go to Jefferson City last week, when the bills finally came up for final approval because he had other things to do including some campaign activities. Besides, he shrugged, his presence or absence didn’t make any difference in the final vote.

A candidate in the race against that senator says the outcome of the vote is not the issue. But fulfilling responsibilities of the office to which he had been elected is–and casting a vote is one of those responsibilities whether on the winning side or the losing side.

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