The State Senate has given preliminary approval to SB 389 , legislation authorizing the sale of $350-Million of assets of MOHELA – the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority. But getting to a vote was not easy.
Minority Democrats, who had filibustered the bill for dozens if hours earlier in the session, delayed the inevitable for an additional nine hours of debate which came to an end early Thursday morning. That’s when majority Republicans employed a rarely used parliamentary procedure known as "moving the previous question" or "P.Q.ing" to end the filibuster and force a vote.
In conjunction with passage of the authorization, the Senate passed HB 16 , the bill outlining the projects to be funded by MOHELA money and the dollars earmarked for each project. It, too, was brought to a vote through use of the "P.Q."
This latest version of the Senate substitute for House Bill 16 is considerably different from previous versions of the legislation in that the University of Missouri loses more than $31-Million that had initially been targeted for planning, design, renovation, and construction at the Ellis Fischel Cancer and Medical Education Center on the Columbia campus. In addition, $15-Million that had been intended for planning, design, renovation, and construction of the Pharmacy and Nursing Building at the University of Missouri-Kansas City is taken out of the final version that has been passed.
The reason for the cuts to those two cities is that the filibuster was led by Senator Chuck Graham (D-Columbia) and Senator Jolie Justus (D-Kansas City). Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons (R-Kirkwood) says their goal in filibustering was to kill the bill and obtain nothing for their districts. So, they end up with nothing for their districts.
The MOHELA authorization bill requires one more positive vote in the Senate before it can be sent to the House. The appropriations bill has been given final approval and could either be accepted, as is, by the House or it could go to a House-Senate conference in which differences in the two chambers’ versions would be ironed out.