David Pearce

Sen. David Pearce answers questions from reporters on the last day of the legislative session.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If there’s one constant about the last week of the Missouri General Assembly’s session, it’s that nobody in the Capitol has to search very hard to find delicious pie.

For several decades, senators have served up rhubarb pies, French silk pies, and even gooseberry pies to hungry legislators and staff. The uncontroversial and widely celebrated “Pie Day” event provides a big boost to proprietors like the Rolling Pin in Glasgow, and a bit of levity within the General Assembly's intense final days.

People mill in the hallway leading to the Missouri Senate chamber. The Missouri Senate often moves slower than the Missouri House -- and can also be where the fiercest legislative fights occur.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

At the tail end of a recent episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, state Sen. Jill Schupp was asked a fairly straightforward question: Had her colleagues learned anything from the resignations of John Diehl and Paul LeVota, two lawmakers who stepped down last year amid accusations of inappropriate behavior toward female interns?

The Creve Coeur Democrat provided a pessimistic response:

Sen. David Pearce presents his bill capping campaign contributions Tuesday during the Senate Rules Committee.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers have spent the first part of the session angling to overhaul the state’s ethics regulations. But for at least one Republican lawmaker, one issue has been absent from the discussion: capping campaign contributions.

Mizzou's Columns
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When Sen. Kurt Schaefer ventured into electoral politics, the Columbia Republican promised to be a zealous advocate for his hometown university.

Moments after finishing off his victory celebration in 2008 over state Sen. Chuck Graham, Schaefer told this reporter about how he would champion higher education funding in the midst of a national economic collapse. After all, he said, "an investment in the University of Missouri is not just an investment for Columbia — it is an investment for the state."

Sen. David Pearce
Marshall Griffin I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies use the magic of radio to welcome state Sen. David Pearce to the podcast for the first time.

The Warrensburg Republican has entered his final year in the Missouri Senate, as term limits will prevent him from running for re-election.

File photo

After two successes in the General Assembly and two vetoes by Gov. Jay Nixon, Missouri lawmakers will consider once more what changes can be made to the state’s student transfer law.

Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, who has been active on the issue as head of the the Senate Education Committee, has pre-filed one of three bills dealing with the transfers. St. Louis area Democrats – Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal of University City and Sen. Scott Sifton of Affton – have filed the others.

File photo

Renewed efforts to change Missouri’s law on school transfers look pretty much the same as the bill vetoed earlier this year by Gov. Jay Nixon, but sponsors of the newly filed legislation say events in Ferguson have changed the atmosphere for the upcoming debate.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 6:12 p.m.)

House and Senate negotiators have wrapped up work on a final version of a bill to ease the burden of Missouri’s student transfer law.

Senate Bill 493 would allow for individual school buildings to be accredited, instead of the school district as a whole, and it would create regional authorities to oversee transfers.

An empty desk
Bubbles | sxc.hu

(Story updated at 5:42 p.m. to include today's 3rd-read vote by the full Senate that sent SB 493 to the Missouri House.)

After spending two days debating and amending legislation to lessen the effects of Missouri's student transfer law, the state Senate overwhelmingly passed it Thursday.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The Missouri Senate has begun debate on legislation to lessen the effects of the state's student transfer law.

The wide-ranging bill attempts to address both the law and unaccredited districts.  Provisions within Senate Bill 493 include accrediting individual school buildings instead of districts as a whole and creating regional authorities across the state to oversee transfers.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Nine bills that either directly addressed or were related to school transfers and accreditation were combined into one bill and passed Thursday by the Missouri Senate's Education Committee.

Field of students at a graduation
j.o.h.n. walker | Flickr

Updated at 6:03 p.m. to include details on a House-Sen. joint committee's proposal to use performance-based criteria in a new Higher Ed. funding formula.

A joint House-Senate panel is recommending performance play a role in how much money Missouri’s colleges and universities get from the state each year.

Panel members on Monday released a proposed Higher Education funding formula, which would include performance measurement in such things as student enrollment/retention, the number of research programs at an institution, and public service to the surrounding community or state.  State Senator David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) chairs the Joint Committee on Education.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate is wrestling with legislation that would tweak the state’s public school funding formula.

The bill is pitting rural and suburban senators against each other.  David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) chairs the Senate Education Committee and represents part of rural west central Missouri.  He sponsors the bill that would more evenly spread K-12 funding by siphoning it off from richer suburban districts, primarily those near St. Louis.

(via Flickr/jennlynndesign)

Missouri lawmakers will be trying to plug a half-billion-dollar gap in next year's budget when they convene their 2012 session on Wednesday.

State budget director Linda Luebbering says much of the hole is due to a reduction in federal money, such as stimulus funds and Medicaid payments.  However, State Senator David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) suggests that that number is not set in stone.

“There are predictions anywhere from $400 to $900 million, (that could) be our shortfall for this upcoming year," Pearce said.  "How do you fill that?  It’s gonna be tough.” 

(Missouri Office of Administration website)

A six-judge panel that redrew Missouri’s State House and Senate districts has made a few changes to the Senate map.

The original map had raised constitutional concerns because it divided rural Johnson County in western Missouri among two separate Senate districts.  The county is represented in the Senate by Republican David Pearce of Warrensburg.

(via Flickr/Adam Procter)

A task force is recommending that funding for universities and community colleges in Missouri be based in part on graduation rates and other performance-based criteria.

The recommendation was presented today in Jefferson City to the state’s Coordinating Board for Higher Education.  State Senator David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) chairs the Senate Education Committee.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) wants to move Missouri’s universities and community colleges back to a performance-based funding model.

It would mark a return to the way business was once conducted.  Graduation rates and similar markers were used as a basis for funding public colleges in Missouri, but the system was dumped a decade ago during an economic recession.

A special Missouri Senate committee is recommending that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education be merged with the Department of Higher Education.

The proposal was one of several announced today that Senate leaders say will improve education in Missouri. Republican David Pearce of Warrensburg says combining the two will have benefits beyond cost savings.