Hard copies of the Missouri Manual, more commonly known as the Blue Book, might be printed by the state again if one lawmaker’s proposal goes through.
The Blue Book is full of information regarding Missouri politics. Due to budget constraints in 2010, Governor Jay Nixon (D) signed legislation that ended the mandatory printing of the manual. In 2013, Nixon signed SB 99, which allowed the Secretary of State to provide an electronic copy of the Blue Book to a non-profit organization. That group could then publish and sell the book in a hard copy format.
State Representative Lyndall Fraker proposes requiring the Secretary of State to publish 5,000 copies of the state manual in addition to the already available electronic version. Fraker said he wants to bring the Blue Book back as a historical document.
“People still want to pick up a hard copy,” said Fraker. “Online is fine, but 50 years from now, 100 years from now, I think it’s important that libraries still have hard copies of information from the past that we can all pick up and review.”
Fraker said there is a push in the legislature to put more emphasis on civics in the classroom and his fellow lawmakers have been very supportive of the bill.
“We think this document will help do that for Missouri government in the classrooms and that’s why we are pushing the bill at this time,” said Fraker. “There’s been a good amount of folks that wanted to make sure these documents got back into the schools and back in the hands of some of the folks for historical purposes.”
Hard copies of the Blue Book would be distributed to lawmakers, government officials, and every high school library in Missouri.
Fraker said the state would publish the Blue Book at a minimal cost compared to what they were before. Fraker estimates the cost to publish the Blue Book will be around $80,000.
The Emerging Issues In Education committee will hear Fraker’s bill today.