Still No Laptops
With a 24 to 9 vote, the Missouri Senate voted to ban laptops from the chamber floor. The Senate has always voted down laptop proposals, but every two years, one senator hopes for a change.
"One of the things that's troubling to me is that frequently people are out of the chamber, just doing their jobs, trying to stay in contact with constituents, keep track of other legislation that is moving and they're missing what's going on on the floor," Missouri Sen. Matt Bartle said.
The House of Representatives allows laptops, but one senator who used to be a representative agrees with the senate decision.
"We had 'em when I was in the House, and when I came over here, I was open to the idea, but the more we debated the issue, the more I realized that particularly in the Senate, we need to be paying attention to each other's debate, and the points that they're making instead of catching up on office business," Missouri Sen. Chuck Graham said.
Some amused members of the House commented on the decision.
"I think it would behoove somebody to set up a booth outside that would sell crossword puzzle books, perhaps comic books or coloring books because when they get into fillerbuster mode, I would have thought a laptop was the only thing that maintains the sanity amongst the group," Missouri Rep. Ed Robb said.
Despite the House views, senators won't connect and download for at least one more session. Support for laptops on the Senate floor seems to be declining. Two years ago, the proposition was defeated by only two votes. This year, the propostion failed by 15 votes.