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Medicaid Expansion Supporters Disrupt Missouri Senate

With permission of Marie French | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | 2014

Twenty-three people were arrested at the Missouri Capitol Tuesday following a protest supporting Medicaid expansion. The protesters began shouting slogans and singing songs from the public gallery above the State Senate floor during debate on an unrelated bill.  

Within seconds of the start of the protest, Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, moved to halt proceedings on the floor until the protesters could be removed.

"Mr. President, I would ask the Senate to stand at recess until the upper gallery is cleared!" Richard said to Senate President Pro-tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, who responded, "Hearing no objection, Senator, the Senate will stand at ease!"

The protestors who were arrested refused to leave when asked by the Capitol police. A spokesman with the Department of Public Safety says they were checked for active warrants, but none were taken into custody.

Missouri lawmakers have so far rebuffed efforts to expand Medicaid in next year's state budget, although an alternate expansion plan that includes reforms was recently added to a related bill that was voted out of a House committee last week.

Portions of the protest can be heard here:

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.