© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Republicans shut down MOHELA debate in Senate

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, Mo – Republican leaders in the Missouri Senate killed a filibuster early this morning that Democrats launched over a month ago to try to block passage of the MOHELA bill. Senators then gave the plan first-round approval.

The proposal would use student loan assets to fund new college construction projects.

GOP leaders used a rule, known as "calling the Previous Question, or "PQ," to end the Democrats' filibuster of the bill.

They also removed two MOHELA building projects from the proposal, at the University of Missouri-Columbia and at UM-Kansas City, because they were in the districts of the two Democrats who led the filibuster.

Republican Senator Gary Nodler of Joplin says senators Chuck Graham of Columbia and Jolie Justus of Kansas City got what they were asking for.

"The result of the successful filibuster would have been to deny that funding," Nodler said.

"You can have a tyranny of the majority, and a tyranny of the minority," noted Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons. "And the tyranny of the minority is when there is a coordinated effort to prevent some matter from ever coming to a vote.

"And that became clear to us that there was no intent to ever get to a vote."

After the vote, Senate Minority Leader Maida Coleman blasted GOP leaders, noting "blood" was on their hands.

"This is about forcing bad public policy down our throats, simply because this governor had a bad idea over a year ago," Coleman said. "And since then, this idea has gotten worse and worse."

The revised bill includes 28 building projects worth nearly $260 million. Nodler says no on would have gained if the filibuster had continued.

A final vote on the MOHELA bill is not expected until at least Monday.