24-hour filibuster ends in Senate

Twilight begins to settle on the capitol building as a 24-hour filibuster takes Congress into the morning hours of Feb. 4.

Twilight begins to settle on the capitol building as a 24-hour filibuster takes Congress into the morning hours of Feb. 4.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A 24-hour filibuster in the Senate came to an end at 2 a.m. Feb. 4.

The bill that would change Southwest Missouri State University to Missouri State University came under attack five days earlier when Sen. Ken Jacob (D-Columbia) said the bill would take prestige and ultimately funding away from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Jacob suggested multiple amendments to the bill such as changing the name of the university to John Ashcroft University and Kit Bond University. None of his amendments passed.

Not everyone was opposed to the bill or in holding up the vote.

“I think there is room for growth in higher education, and in marketing beyond our state borders for two statewide universities,” said Norma Champion (R-Springfield).

The bill would bring better students, better faculty and better private donations to SMSU. It would also create prestige.

“The name change would recognize SMSU for what it is,” said House Speaker Catherine Hanaway (R-Warson Woods), “It would recognize it as the premiere university for undergraduate degrees.”

Sen. President Pro Tem Peter Kinder (R-Cape Giradeau) was able to reach a compromise leading to the end of the filibuster.

Kinder’s compromise provides SMSU will wait for a name change until bills giving MU $190 million in bonds has passed both the House and Senate. Kinder said this would put the name change on the “fast track”.

Not everyone agreed with Kinder’s proposal. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman John Russell (R-Lebanon) said the bonds should be allowed to be voted on separately and not tied in with a name change.

“This is a big mess,” Russell said, “What leverage does a name change have? Not any.”

The bill did pass with a 24-7 vote. While Jacob did step down and allow the bill to come to a vote, he voted against it.

The bill to change the name of SMSU comes on the heels of many proposals allocating additional funding to a large number of universities across the state.

There has still been no guarantee that Missouri Southern will receive any additional money.

All four campuses in the University of Missouri system have been looked at to receive new life science buildings or have renovations of current buildings. With every university in the state adding to the list, there is a good chance the bill will get defeated.

Sen. Gary Nodler (R-Joplin) said the condition of the state’s economy would allow for the buying of bonds if Missouri continues to recover as well as it has. So far there has been a 5 percent increase in jobs compared to last year.

The bonds would not have to be repaid until 2008, giving the state time to collect the funds.