A report this week has revealed a Missouri lobbyist’s pursuit to strip Title IX protections is intended to help his son, who was expelled from school for such allegations. The Kansas City Star reports lobbyist Richard McIntosh engineered a controversial bill that would significantly change the way the state’s colleges and universities handle sexual assault and harassment cases.
Title IX, a federal statute, protects people from sexual discrimination in education.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington, would require an administrative commission to hear the cases, a process that would have been overseen by McIntosh’s wife. It would also let students involved have an attorney, cross-examination would be allowed and the accused could appeal.
Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, doubts the proposal will reappear in his chamber this session.
“I could be wrong. A lot of these issues are will of the caucus issues that we decide what comes to the floor. We’ll see,” he tells reporters. “I haven’t talked to anybody this week that has pushed very hard to bring it back up. From my perspective for the moment, there’s a bunch of other things that are a little bit more pressing.”
If lawmakers knew then what they know now, would the bill’s fate have been different?
“I think probably that hindsight is 20/20. I think there’s probably a lot to learn from the way the bill was rolled out. I’ve said all along, there are probably changes that can and should be made to the Title IX process but there’s probably a right way to do it,” says Rowden. “It was a tough lift, I think, regardless. There were a lot of folks who had issues and people who had talked to me very early in session before the other hoopla came to be.”
Rowden says he hopes McIntosh’s deep involvement in the legislation does not hurt the overall policy changes he thinks should be made to the Title IX process.
The measure, Senate Bill 259, halted Senate business last week for several hours.
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