Depending on whose opinion you get, this week’s initial meetings to draw up new school standards for Missouri students were a “Common Core cheerleading session” or a strong-arm attempt that was “hijacked by political extremists” on the right.
Either way, the eight committees impaneled under a law passed earlier this year appear to have a long way to go to meet a deadline of having the new standards ready for approval a year from now.
The Missouri General Assembly’s veto-override session, which gets underway next Wednesday, once again is touching on familiar ground: abortion, guns, schools and state spending.
State House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, is particularly optimistic that legislators will override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill to extend the waiting period for an abortion to 72 hours, making Missouri only the third state in the country to do so.
But overshadowing all of that – and possibly upsetting predictions – is Ferguson.
Outgoing Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones is encouraging St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch to reconsider and step down as head of the investigation into the Ferguson police shooting that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Jones, R-Eureka, is the first Republican to call for McCulloch’s removal.
In the final weeks of the legislative session, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has made a last-ditch effort to resurrect a push to expand Missouri’s Medicaid program and accept roughly $2 billion a year in federal money.
The governor, a Democrat, unveiled his “Missouri Health Works’’ program before business leaders Monday in Cape Girardeau. By coincidence or design, state House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka and an opponent of Medicaid expansion, was also in Cape on Monday with conservative low-tax icon Grover Norquist to highlight a different issue.
After two weeks of vigorous lobbying, Republican leaders in the Missouri House acknowledge that they have yet to obtain the extra four votes needed to send to the state Senate a measure to put a "right-to-work" proposal on the August ballot.
“I’m not in the habit of bringing up votes unless the votes are secured,’’ said House Majority Leader John Diehl, R-Town and Country, in an interview late last week.
Despite opposition from a coalition of Missouri school groups, a bipartisan panel of lawmakers said Friday that to win passage, school transfer legislation needs to include the option of non-sectarian private schools.
State Sens. John Lamping, R-Ladue, and Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, along with House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, discussed the issue at a forum on tax-credit scholarships. With three weeks left in the legislative session, a transfer bill that passed overwhelmingly in the Senate is now moving through the House.