Deal puts Missouri Senate back on track after filibuster over KC landfill dispute

Several GOP senators held the floor all day Thursday in an attempt to force a vote on legislation meant to kill a proposed landfill in south Kansas City

By: - May 5, 2023 12:52 pm

Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Cassville, was joined by, from left, Sens. John Rizzo, D-Independence, Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, and Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit, at a news conference to discuss a moratorium on landfill development in Kansas City (Rudi Keller/Missouri Independent).

The Missouri Senate returned to regular business Friday morning with just a few hours left before its deadline to pass the $50 billion budget after a nine-hour filibuster the day before

Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, and GOP colleagues held the Senate floor all day Thursday in an attempt to force a vote on legislation meant to kill a proposed landfill in south Kansas City, near Brattin’s district. The filibuster put the Senate at risk of failing to pass the state budget by 6 p.m. Friday, which would be a historic failure.

But senators reached a deal Friday morning to ward off a second-day filibuster and prohibit the landfill from moving in for now.

And less than 15 minutes before the Senate convened Friday, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a tweet that he would introduce legislation to the city council to ban any approval of a landfill in Kansas City through next summer. 

Lucas said in an interview that he spoke with Senate leadership and senators from the Kansas City area, including Brattin. 

“That will allow us to — at least for now — build the regional discussions necessary on this issue, and then…hopefully for the state of Missouri, they’ll be able to continue on with other discussions not necessarily centered on the landfill,” Lucas said. 

The Senate amended a budget bill Friday to fund a study by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources of the effect a landfill would have on the area schools, residents, environment and property values. It would also prohibit the department from issuing permits at the site for one year while the study is ongoing.

“We’re very pleased with where we are at as opposed to where we were at on Wednesday,” Brattin said.

Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, applauded Brattin’s efforts.

“Everybody kind of came together and coalesced around the general idea of preserving the area and not having a landfill in south Kansas City that would effect its neighbors in a — no pun intended — gross fashion,” Rizzo said.

Filibuster over KC landfill bill ends, Missouri Senate puts spending bills on deck for debate

Brattin and state Rep. Mike Haffner, R-Pleasant Hill, have been pushing legislation meant to kill a landfill proposed by KC Recycle & Waste Solutions, owned by Jennifer and Aden Monheiser. 

The company has proposed a landfill on 270 acres at the extreme southern tip of Kansas City, where it borders Grandview, Raymore and Lee’s Summit. The landfill project has outraged neighbors, including a nearby golf course community with homes worth up to $1 million, and officials from surrounding municipalities.

The site is just far enough from the border that a Missouri law requiring approval from an adjacent municipality before a landfill is built in Kansas City does not apply. So Brattin and state Rep. Mike Hafffner, R-Pleasant Hill, have been trying to change the law to allow the adjacent municipalities to block landfills within a mile of the border.

While Haffner’s legislation passed the House with an overwhelming 139-16 majority, it was stymied Wednesday night by a filibuster by Sen. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold, who said it was important to base policy on more than simply a desire by residents not to want a landfill in their backyard.

“My concern with this issue is over policy and I do not support the government picking winners and losers in the private sector,” Coleman said. “We should have a serious policy discussion about setting standards for what the rules should be regarding where landfills should be based on actual environmental impacts.”

Brattin, in turn, made a motion Thursday morning to amend the Senate Journal, which senators must approve before beginning other work for the day. 

Brattin then held the floor for four hours, decrying Coleman’s filibuster. He was replaced later in the day by Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, and then Sen. Jill Carter, R-Granby.

The filibuster ended just before 7 p.m. Thursday.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Allison Kite
Allison Kite

Allison Kite is a data reporter for The Missouri Independent and Kansas Reflector, with a focus on energy, the environment and agriculture. A graduate of the University of Kansas, she previously covered City Hall for The Kansas City Star, as well as state government in both Topeka and Jefferson City.