Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

February 25, 2005

House panels advance name change legislation to the floor

After hearing testimony Tuesday, February 22 on both sides of the issue, the Higher Education panel voted 10-1 to support the bill in executive session. Supporters testifying before the Committee included Champion, SMSU President John Keiser, and a representative of the governing board and student board.

Jim Scanlon, president of Missouri Western State College, also testified in support of the bill which changes that institution to University status. The Committee received supportive testimony from Missouri Southern State College-Joplin, which would drop the Joplin from its official designation; Central Missouri State University, which would become the University of Central Missouri; and Harris Stowe State College, which would become a university.

Opponents included Rep. Brian Pratt (R-Blue Springs) and Rep. Bob Johnson (R-Lee’s Summit), who argued that the bill creates a third tier of institutions. The Committee also heard testimony against the bill from a student representative of the Alumni Association and former Curator Jim Sterling.

On Wednesday, Feb. 23 the bill then was approved 8-1 by the House Rules Committee. It will be slotted for five hours of debate, split equally by opponents and supporters, next week on the House floor. If approved there in its current form, it will move to the Governor’s office. Gov. Matt Blunt has pledged to sign it.

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