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MO Senate to take up MOHELA again, maybe today

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Senate is about to take up the MOHELA bill again.

The legislation, backed by Governor Matt Blunt, would use about $350 million from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority to build on college campuses.

The MOHELA bill has been stalled in the Senate for just over a month, due to a filibuster by Democrats. Senate Floor Leader Charlie Shields says it's time to finish up the bill and move it over to the House:

"People continue to talk, negotiations are out there," Shields said. "My hope is that we can get it over without doing the Previous Question motion, which really cuts off debate, but we've already had several, several hours of debate, and if this bill's gonna happen we need to get it moving."

Democrats say the money should be used to help more students attend college. Republicans have threatened to remove college construction projects in districts represented by Democrats if they don't end their filibuster.

"We need people to work together on this to make things happen," Shields added. "I think there's folks on both the House and Senate side that question whether it's appropriate to put projects in people's districts that have been disruptive to the process & trying to kill the bill, that seems like it makes no sense.

"Hopefully we don't get to that point."

In February, several proposed MOHELA projects in Democratic districts were removed from the bill, but were later put back in. Shields hopes the Senate can finish up the bill and send it to the House this week.