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Politics

Proposed Rules Would Change Debate

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/proposedru_37.mp3

Leaders in the House of Representatives are considering changes that would take power away from rank and file members. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Right now, House members are allowed to stand up and speak on a bill without seeking permission from their party's leaders.

But under proposed changes to the House rules, party leaders or lawmakers handling a bill would designate who gets to speak on their bill and how long.

Democratic Representative Tom Villa is a former Majority Floor Leader in the House who is now, himself a rank and file member.

Supporters of the changes say the new rules will make debate more civil and more focused.

House Speaker Rod Jetton says he believes more lawmakers will have the opportunity to voice their concerns.

Under Jetton's proposal, debate time on certain bills would be limited but he says Democrats and Republicans would have equal time.

Another change Jetton is proposing would require House members to be in the chamber at the time of votes.

Right now, lawmakers can change their votes or give their votes later.

Jetton says that practice should stop.